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Party's over; Brockport ditches its past reputation

by Kiara Alfonseca - EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Tue, May 2nd 2017 06:50 pm
Emma Misiaszek/ PHOTO EDITOR 
Brockport? A Party School? - Due to several changes within the college and the surrounding village, the college atmosphere at Brockport has shifted over the past years.
Emma Misiaszek/ PHOTO EDITOR Brockport? A Party School? - Due to several changes within the college and the surrounding village, the college atmosphere at Brockport has shifted over the past years.

If you're new to The College at Brockport, you might not understand why it was once considered a major SUNY party school. 

Being called a "party school" by many with a vague knowledge of the happenings that occur at the college and in the village, Brockport has seemingly shed the name from the inside out. Whether Brockport Police Department increased its presence throughout the village, the loss of key party locations or perhaps unrealistic expectations on what party schools should look like, The Stylus looked into what may be causing this change in reputation.

In 2014, the infamous Brockport "riot" occurred; bars were forced by police to close early on homecoming weekend and almost a thousand students poured onto Main Street in the Village of Brockport. A video posted on YouTube, named "Brockport riot" on Sept. 23, 2014 of the incident, in which police cars are flashing in the background as students yell and BPD officers usher bar patrons along, gives some insight into the occurrences of that night. 

According to BPD, 28 students were arrested, 30 cops from approximately 13 different police departments were ordered and Chief of Police Daniel Varrenti suggested making the Village of Brockport a dry town. By "dry town," Varrenti meant a town where the government prevents the sale of alcohol. While this event made a splash in Brockport's status as a party school, BPD Sergeant Paul Wheat thinks the overall "party school" image may be disappearing because of the small radius which BPD patrols. When party attendees see car after car passing down Monroe Avenue or Holley Street and even on Main Street, it may simply be the same car making rounds. 

When making rounds throughout the village, Wheat says the majority of the time parties get dispersed when a village resident complains; evaporation of the college party atmosphere may rely on these residents making calls to the department. 

The close proximity of an elementary, middle and high school population to the college and college renters may be the source of the noise complaints killing Brockport's party scene.

"If [village residents] are  living amongst college kids with young children and they call the police, they would feel that that's a problem house or a party house for the college," Wheat said. "Noise complaints are still noise complaints. I think the big thing is that the college has changed on how they deal with students who get in trouble. I think before it might have been that the police would give you a ticket and that was it and you handle it in court but now I believe they go through the code of conduct, and they go through things in the college." 

Although it may seem like a scene out of the movie, the consequential "dry town" rumors and police surveillance may have contributed to the drifting of this title. 

Wheat, who has been here for approximately 17 years, offers advice to incoming freshmen on how to take on the party scene that may exist at Brockport. 

"People want to be mad because the cops are breaking up a party, but it's not really the party, it's maybe the 18-year-old freshman who just did 10 shots and doesn't know what 10 shots are going to do to him," Wheat said. "If you are an adult and you are making your mind up that you're going to drink, have some friends with you and realize that it is illegal and you could be arrested."

Another sign of the potential disappearing party school label is the closing of a Brockport hot spot, Rocco's, in the winter of 2016. 

The Stylus reported that the bouncers and security at a bar formerly called Rocco's Canal Side Pub, accepted monetary bribes from underage patrons, resulting in two arrests of a bouncer and a bartender, as well as the retraction of Rocco's liquor license. 

Although it may seem that where the parties are happening and how fast they will get "busted" may seem like the shift in Brockport's label, Brockport Student Government President Devin Bonner believes the party scene is what students make of it and they haven't made it the party school that Brockport once was.

"In more recent years, I've noticed a decrease of students going out," Bonner wrote in an email. "All of the crazy college party scenes from movies like "Animal House" don't actually exist. So when students get here expecting some of those scenes to actually occur and they don't, the school loses its claim to fame as a party school. It's simply a trickle down effect. I believe that every college is a party college in some aspect if you make that your experience. But Brockport is better known for our athletics, academic success and opportunities."

However the school may be labeled, each year's demographics shift and change, and the label will fluctuate with it.

@kiaraalfonseca

stylus@brockport.edu