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Friday, October 21, 2005

Allston-Brighton Up All Night

An open letter to the City of Boston and Boston College from residents of Brighton regarding loud noise caused by BC students is featured in the Allston-Brighton TAB.

Read the most recent coverage of these residents’ concerns, and related tensions between BC and the surrounding community, here.

The demands made by the residents include:
  • Enforcement of laws regarding the permissible number of tenants per unit;
  • More police officers responding faster;
  • Expansion of the Boston College CAP program;
  • Three-way communication between residents, parents and BC; and
  • Pressure on absentee landlords to take responsibility for their tenants.
The legitimate concerns proffered by the residents are undermined by the over-the-top, melodramatic tone of the letter. For example, residents claim that they are being “forced to live a life we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies.” That’s pretty heavy.

Readers are subject to a Wednesday-night-in-the-life of a Brighton resident:
Wednesday night: You are tired, you are at home enjoying a home-cooked meal when you hear shouts. A dozen or so students are walking down your street, cans of beer (or worse) in hand. (And we thought it was illegal!) Your stomach sinks to the bottom of your shoes: oh, no, they are going to be at it tonight! Can you relax after that? No.
The letter is filled with more exclamation points than a sixteen-year-old girl’s MySpace profile.

Despite their lack of sleep, residents are having no problem getting together to theorize about Boston College's plan to take over the Chestnut Hill Reservoir...
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Comments on "Allston-Brighton Up All Night"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/22/2005 05:51:00 AM) : 

Wow. I read that letter, and then penned an email to the primary contact in response. Dead email address. Either a coward or an idiot; maybe both. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Karen,

I recently read the letter that you and others in the Alston Brighton
community wrote and published in the Alston Brighton TAB. While I
appreciate the frustration of being woken up by rowdy students, I
question whether the all-out opposition to Boston College and its
student body is the appropriate way to handle the problem. While I
think the description of life in Brighton published in your letter is
a bit overstated and dramatic, I have no doubt that college students
do have parties and are occasionally louder than they should be in
your neighborhood.

The actions of your town governance, and the town of Newton have
helped to create this situation. AB and Newton will not allow BC to
build the necessary facilities to contain students on our main campus.
Newton has battled with BC for almost 15 years over the building of a
student center on BCs campus that would help keep students on campus.
The school has been met with opposition to building housing facilities
on their new property on the former archdiocese property, before any
such intentions were expressed by the school. The AB community even
had a problem with housing victims of hurricane Katrina there. The
school also has met with opposition about maintaining the reservoir
property that has fallen into ruin - and BC just wants to keep it
safe. A few years ago, BC tried to buy the former waterworks of the
reservoir, but were denied in favor of a private developer who is
currently ruining what was a beautiful piece of property. Finally,
the community can't even part with a 4 acre piece of property that
basically lies on BC's campus.

What you fail to realize in your letter is that while you and your
fellow signatories have worked hard to build a community in AB, Boston
College and its students are also a part of that community. You treat
Boston College as if it were an intruder, instead as the neighbor it
actually is. While you are correct to point out that students are
only in AB for a couple years, you forget that Boston College has been
in AB for many more years than you. It is part of the community, and
you should treat it as such. If you want to have a more peaceful
neighborhood, then let BC to make the necessary changes to accommodate
its growth and success. Again, I appreciate the problem that young
students can create by being kids, but if you want to fix the problem,
stop the all-out hatred of Boston College and start working with the


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/23/2005 12:29:00 PM) : 

This is a well-argued letter, you should send it to the various TAB newspapers.

On a related point: I question to what extent BC students are actually to blame. BC currently houses close to 85-90% of its students on campus and about half of the rest are overseas. I suspect the % of BC students living in the area is miniscule compared to that of BU students and, given that prices in AB are the cheapest in the city, Northeastern students, other area students and recent grads regardless of insitution. Yet for whatever reason, BC always seems to receive the bulk of the neighborhood's ire--or more accurately that of outspoken "community activists."


Blogger filosofo said ... (10/26/2005 10:12:00 AM) : 

I don't know about the letter's author and signers, but I don't have any animosity towards BC students or BC in general. I just would like to get an uninterrupted night's sleep.

The response above makes the point that there are BC students contributing to the community. No doubt there are, but it's irrelevant. We don't give criminals from the state of NY a pass just because there are others in NY who aren't criminals. The law still needs to be enforced.

Also, I note how quickly the author lumps AB in with Newton and then blames both for the actions of Newton. What are AB residents supposed to do about that?

Why does it seem so controversial to ask BC students to obey the law and be considerate neighbors?


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (10/26/2005 10:50:00 AM) : 


Thank you for visiting and contributing worthwhile discussion.

Regarding "lumping AB & Newton" - while BC's most recent major headline-grabbing quarrel with the surrounding community involved Newton's opposition to the proposed Monan Student Center off of Beacon Street, AB has done its share to thwart BC's growth and expansion. One example that comes to mind is when AB vowed to sue BC over the Alumni Stadium expansion in the early/mid 90s. I think it's fair to say that both AB & Newton share the same interests regarding BC, and that lumping them together in this case is appropriate.

FYI, to avert a legal battle over the stadium expansion (which has brought otherwise unlikely revenue to the community), BC opened the AB Neighborhood Resource Center, established 15 scholarships per year for Allston-Brighton residents (so THATS how those kids got in...), paid $250K per year to the department of transportation, maintained McKinney Park, and made landscaping improvements at Cleveland Circle.


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (10/26/2005 10:54:00 AM) : 


Also, you make a similar mistake to one you've criticized others about. Why not say "Why does it seem so controversial to ask those BC students that are causing the problems to obey the law and be considerate neighbors?

Why "lump" all BC students together? If some people from the state of NY commit crimes, we don't prosecute all New Yorkers.


Blogger filosofo said ... (10/26/2005 01:59:00 PM) : 

bc eagle,
I assure you I don't think most BC students are like the trouble-makers. However, the trouble-makers aren't wearing scarlet A's on their chests, so there's no more precise way to identify them than as BC students (which most of them are).

In the analogy, we don't prosecute all New Yorkers, but for no New Yorker is ignorance of the law an excuse. Around the holidays public service announcements remind everyone not to drink and drive. Even though I don't drink and drive, nothing about those ads is insulting, because I know I'm complying with the law. Likewise, the BC student body should not be insulted when reminded of its responsibility as a member of the community.


Blogger BC Eagle said ... (10/26/2005 02:15:00 PM) : 

Are most of them Boston College students? Consider the comment of anon: BC houses 85-90% of its students on campus, and the area, particularly Cleveland Circle, draws students and recent grads from many different universities.

However, I'll concede that most probably are current BC students. But clearly a "more precise way to identify them" (for the purposes of criticizing them on a blog comment) is just as I suggested.

An average New Yorker isn't insulted by your public service announcement. However, she might be insulted if the "announcement" says "all New Yorkers are drunk drivers" - which is a better analogy to the criticisms by AB/Newton "activists."


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/27/2005 09:58:00 PM) : 

I think the point of this whole discussion is that people need to be considerate of their neighbors. It applies mainly to young people (students, recent grads, etc) since they are typically the ones up late partying. I am a recent college graduate who lives in Allston. I love the city and I like to party, but some of my fellow 20-somethings really disappoint and annoy me when they feel they are entitled to yell and scream and play loud music at 3 in the morning with a total disregard to others. It all comes down to respect. Give respect and you get respect, and everyone ends up happier.


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