Burlington targets college students with noise violations

If UVM students want to shout in the streets, Burlington wants them to pay.UVM’s Student Government Association (SGA) is attempting to fight the Burlington City Council’s passing of a new noise resolution.The council is attempting to raise fines for first and second noise violation offenses by $100 each.SGA Committee on Legislative Action Chair Michael Glynne and Vice President Kate Ash, both seniors, were present at the City Council to provide the student perspective on the financial issue.”Students are struggling to pay for an expensive education while supporting themselves,” Ash said to the council.Council members voiced the complaints they have been getting from Burlington residents about excessive noise.”We continue to have noise issues on East Avenue and Colchester Avenue,” Councilwoman Sharon Bushor said. “Having a remote area of  UVM like Trinity Campus dominated by freshman students is not wise.”Bushor said that residents have filed noise complaints because of students rolling beer kegs down the sidewalks, initially thought to be the sound of skateboards.”This is a community of a wide range of students, but UVM is typically targeted because of its large size,” Ash said.Glynne refuted the suggestion that noise violations have increased in recent times.”Burlington Police has stated that cases of noise violation, along with crime and vandalism, have actually been on the decline within the past few years,” Glynne said.Residents present at the meeting were similarly opposed to the increase in fines. “If you don’t want to deal with college noise, don’t buy a house in a section dominated by colleges,” UVM alumni and Burlington resident Ellen Cooper said. “UVM was there first, since the 1800s, and it is a great asset to the city.” Some students and residents present felt that the City Council is attempting to keep most people relatively ignorant of new policies and resolutions that affect their finances. “The parties that have the most to lose, i.e. every resident of Burlington, should be better informed before a resolution like this is passed,” Glynne said.While the Council assures that taxes have not risen, fines like this have increased across the city.”Fines are necessary, but not during these economic times,” Glynne said.Students are encouraged to speak up and attend City Council meetings if they have issues with this new resolution, specifically if they want to advocate for community service as an alternative to fines.”More community service hours will be more effective than fines,” Glynne said. “It’s because you are going to have to take that time to go out and use those hours, which is going to be more [of a] burden on your brain.”Ash stressed the importance of community service in directly giving back to the community and having a positive impact.The Council has yet to vote on the resolution, but student attendance at the meetings is greatly encouraged.