QU Students Rally For Downtown “Drunk Bus”

Phil Nobile/ Quinnipiac ChronicleAfter complaints of mass public urination by Quinnipiac University partiers waiting for a ride back to campus, students find themselves fighting to keep the weekly shuttles that take them to downtown New Haven clubs.

That news emerged this past week, as the student council launched a campaign to preserve weekly shuttles from the Hamden campus to downtown.

The shuttle service, known as the “drunk bus,” runs Wednesdays through Sundays through a contract with DATTCO. It aims to keep the 5,900 undergraduate students from driving drunk.

Students have been abusing the service: Dozens have been cited by the cops for public urination and intoxication and indecent exposure. Still more students have been vomiting and urinating on the shuttles, according to Ben Cloutier, president of the Student Government Association, in an email to students Thursday.

“We are one ‘bad’ weekend away from losing this privilege,” wrote Cloutier. Students have launched a campaign, called Respect Your Ride, to keep the privilege.

New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman said Quinnipiac student behavior has been out of control. He said cops have been cracking down on the public peeing by shuttle-goers.

It’s not new for students to become disorderly after hitting downtown clubs, said Hartman, who used to patrol that area. This year has seen a spike in complaints, particularly with students waiting for a Thursday shuttle that leaves from the Green, he said.

“There have been a lot of complaints made of students urinating while waiting for the buses,” Hartman said. “We have three beautiful churches on the New Haven Green, and one or two of them became nothing more than a urinal for these kids.”

In response, the city on Sept. 16 began to add cops to the Green at the spot where the shuttle picks up on Thursdays.

From Sept. 16 through Nov. 6, cops cited 70 Quinnipiac students for misbehaving downtown, Hartman said. During the same time, 10 students from Southern Connecticut State University and 13 students from other schools got tickets.

“Public urination was the predominant charge,” he said.

The students are among thousands of visitors who flood downtown clubs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays every week.

DATTCO runs the shuttles between the Quinnipiac campus and downtown New Haven on Wednesday through Saturday evenings starting at 8. The last shuttle returns to campus between 1 and 3 a.m., “depending on guidelines from campus security offices,” according to Cliff Gibson, DATTCO’s chief operations officer.

Despite what was initially reported in Quinnipiac’s student newspaper, Gibson said DATTCO never threatened or even suggested “that we would pull the service or cancel our contract with the university.”

“We’re under contract with the university. If there were to be any changes to that contract, it would be dictated by the university,” Gibson said.

Quinnipiac University officials declined to say whether service would be terminated.

“We are aware of some inappropriate behavior occurring on the shuttles and the Student Government Association is working with Security and Safety to address the situation,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, in a written statement Friday.

In his email to students, student council President Cloutier urged his peers to behave:

“We need to take responsibility for ourselves and our friends. We, as a community, need to respect these services provided to us. Bear in mind that these shuttles are a privilege and not a right. Let’s think before we act and hold one another accountable this, and every, weekend.

“Hit the restroom before the shuttle stop on campus. Before leaving for campus from New Haven, respectfully utilize nearby restaurants and businesses that will allow you their facilities. Stop friends from drinking to the verge of getting sick. Be safe and be smart. Help spread the word; if we want to keep our shuttles it will take a concentrated community effort to do so.”

Downtown Alderman-elect Douglas Hausladen said the situation amplifies the need for more police enforcement and for a public information campaign.

“The reason that we’re in the place that 70 people can feel free to pee in public is a lack of consistent enforcement of our quality of life complaints downtown,” Hausladen said. When “minor infractions are let go, then you breed this culture of ‘do whatever you want,’” he said.

He said public urination has been a problem at downtown parking garages as well, and it won’t go away without further enforcement.

He said police have a great opportunity, with all the downtown visitors, for some one-on-one education. He suggested the city come up with a “Welcome to Downtown” handbill, complete with a list of tips to keep safe, tips to stay out of trouble, places to park, and how to get downtown on public transit. “And, of course, don’t forget to keep your voices down.”

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posted by: anon on November 14, 2011  12:06pm

lol yeah the handcuffed student pleaded out and got a fine and the other is still fighting his trial… one question chronicle… why don’t you get the other video of this incident from beginning to end and show the unedited version…. hhmmm or request it from the court

posted by: cba on November 14, 2011  12:59pm

Although this is not indicative of the quality of the student body, the students who engaged in this type of conduct should each be given substantial community service cleaning up such messes, then perhaps they will understand their juvenile conduct.

posted by: Bill Saunders on November 14, 2011  2:08pm

So, THIS is what that Cop on the Green was protecting the Occupiers from!!

If we had provided a matron to escort these P-ers to the Porto-Potties in the Encampment, this issue could have been easily resolved.

posted by: Local on November 14, 2011  4:01pm

Rather have ‘em peeing on the bus than driving drunk on Whitney Ave. It’s dangerous enough on upper Whitney already.

posted by: actuallaw+ on November 14, 2011  4:46pm

That guy should have told cheech and chong loudly that he has the right to film their acts in accordance with law.

posted by: nhteaparty on November 14, 2011  5:37pm

Nice to see my tax dollars being put to work babysitting the neighboring town’s riff raff.

This is actually a metaphor for how the surrounding towns treat NH.  They all come here, drunk kids, and town employees alike to enjoy our city and then defile it as they leave.

JD,  Lets get that residency requirement in place for town employees and then crack down on these quality of life issues.  Noisy car, litter, public urination = $1000 fine or 100 hours community service picking up garbage from the streets.  Squash OT for cops and then hire some more hands to get this stuff done.

This town is getting louder, dirtier, and more dangerous every single day.  You nearly lost your spot this year don’t think you’ll hold onto it if things keep going like this for the next 2 years.

posted by: Leon on November 14, 2011  8:18pm

Nhteaparty - as a resident of Hamden I must say that a much greater amount of my taxpayer money is spent dealing with the “riff raff” from New Haven that come into Hamden to commit crimes.  Just look at the Hamden police blotter and you will know what I mean. 

And be careful what you wish for nhteaparty.  These are not another town’s riff raff - these are mostly out of state kids who come to school at Quinnipiac.  A small number may may urinate but an even larger number go downtown to spend money and patronize businesses - something New Haven desperately needs.  Take away the busses and the club owners will move to Hamden where the police force can control them and there are no fears of getting shot.

These kids may be obnoxious - but they are not the cause for New Haven being a dirty and dangerous place.  When was the last time a kid from Hamden, North Haven, East Haven or Branford was responsible for a shooting in New Haven? 

Just look at the thriving restaurants in Hamden that have opened up over the past few years - you can’t even get in the Tapas bar on Dixwell, the sushi place or many of the other wonderful restaurants.  People feel safe, don’t have to pay to park and can get wonderful food.  The restaurant owners pay lower taxes and get more support from the municipal government.  So be careful what you wish for, the suburbs may just keep these “drunks” and but also the much larger number of well behaved people who have money to spend.

posted by: Ellis Copeland on November 14, 2011  10:00pm

@Leon—please, please all you suburbanites need to stay in the sticks. New Haven does NOT need you. You need New Haven.  Suburbanites create far more problems downtown than their few measly buck are worth. And, sorry, the bars will NOT move to Hamden. The children will just drive drunk, kill themselves and others and the suburbanites will blame the big bad city.

posted by: yeah right on November 14, 2011  10:28pm

Hey Ellis- I’ll trade you all the drunks peeing on the Green (I assume you are OK with the homeless residents who live on the Green peeing there)for the next two ...s from New Haven who jump someone on the Farmington Canal trail just for fun. I like going out in New Haven, but its also nice to go out in Hamden and not worry so much about getting assaulted in a dark parking lot or having to navigate a gauntlet of panhandlers. But by all means, feel free to blame New Haven’s ongoing crime problem on suburbanites.

posted by: Cartman on November 14, 2011  10:51pm

To Ellis Copeland:  ... My boy Leon from Hamden is right on point with his comments.  And do us a favor, stay in New Haven; visit the 3 or 4 bars they still have left downtown.

posted by: Icarus on November 15, 2011  12:01am

Please stop all access of suburbanites to the city of New Haven! Close the highways, discontinue the buses, and end the rail service before Union Station! Clearly New Haven does not need anyone else to come from the outside. Suburbanites come into New Haven and work, visit local vendors, volunteer, and go out to bars/ clubs. How dare they bring such an intolerable level of generic activity to the streets of New Haven! WHAAA!

As for the QU students, who cares? Just a bunch of college kids doing what college kids in every single region of the country do, act immature. Ticket them and move on.

posted by: Newhavenerrr on November 15, 2011  8:28am

New Haven needs the business of these students, especially on weeknights. If the most harm they do is pee and puke then I welcome them with open arms. These college students are not the problem with New Haven. Everyday we have gangs, drugs and guns running through the streets causing much bigger problems!

posted by: I'm just Saying on November 15, 2011  3:21pm

Though these students are not committing major crime with their public urination and drunken disorderliness, they are nonetheless committing crimes! And no crime should be tolerated. It is not a ‘good thing’ to get drunk and even worse to be drunk in public where one can seriously injure themselves or others. It is nasty and rude to pee in public. It is disgusting to puke in public because you’re drunk. SO why not start there with promoting acceptable behavior. Rather than a fine or jail, the penalty of having to do some public cleaning would be a great way to drive home the point ... you make a mess you clean up mess. This is training all kids should have - grade school, urban, suburban ... and being in ‘college’ gives you no license to act the fool and think you can get away with it. You want to party downtown you are welcome. But if you are found drunk and disorderly or peeing in public - lock em’ up for the night, let them wake up in their own stink, make them take time out from their important classes to come to court and give them 20 hours community service ... picking up trash downtown, cleaning pee and puke of sidewalks and off the side of buildings, etc. That’ll make the point ... don’t get drunk and don’t pee in public. How hard is that? I’m just sayin!

posted by: Avoid New Haven? on November 15, 2011  4:29pm

If all suburbanites avoided New haven, I don’t think there would be many businesses left down town.  That is not the answer. 

Bar owner’s need to keep a more vigilant eye on the student’s drinking,and treat them like they would any other customer, who may be driving themselves.  Just because they are taking a sober bus ride back to campus, shouldn’t allow the student the privilege of getting intoxicated to the point that they can not control themselves.

posted by: joey on November 15, 2011  6:44pm

Just so we get this straight…..quinnipiac hires. 2 officers on their dime to work alongside qu security in downtown new haven.  Also when and if u compare statistics quinnipiac brings down almost 3 times the amounts of kids to new haven so when u look at the figures that’s really not all that bad

posted by: Liz on November 15, 2011  10:33pm

I’m glad to see our new downtown alderman is on this, but I don’t think handbills would work for this particular crowd. If you’re the kind of person who pukes and pees in public, you probably don’t have any qualms about littering, either. So, not only will they ignore the handbills, they’ll throw them in the street. It’d probably be more effective to have the school teach the kids not to pee in public, perhaps as a condition of riding the bus. (You know our civilization is doomed when universities are teaching mandatory classes on polite urination, but that is another story.)

He’s right about enforcement, though. Keep up the aggressive ticketing.

posted by: smoemeth on November 15, 2011  11:09pm

There’s a bigger issue here that’s not being addressed: the fact that the QU “drunk bus” exists to deliver freshmen and sophomores with their fake IDs to the bars downtown that don’t care how old you are, so long as you’ve got the money and the time to drink yourself sick on a weekly basis.

I travel for a living, and I recently met a woman whose high-school-senior daughter was considering Quinnipiac.  I told the woman about the “drunk bus” and recommended she convince her daughter to go elsewhere.  For her kid’s sake, I hope she did.

posted by: Lifer on November 16, 2011  9:41pm

Coincidentally the New Haven Register has a story today about Quinnipiac students behaving badly out in Hamden too, where they have loud drunken parties at their off-campus apartments and drive the neighbors crazy.
I agree with the other poster - I’d rather have them pee on the green or on the bus than drive that drunk up I-91 or Whitney.

posted by: Joe K. on November 28, 2011  2:17pm

I’m not at all surprised by the vomitting and peeing-in-public behavior of Quinnipiac students.  Afterall Quinnipiac is school more known for it party-like atmosphere and not really known for its academics.  It’s where mom and dad send their kid when he/she doesn’t get into Fairfield, Trinity, UCONN, etc.