A Neighborhood Divided

Cartoon by Mike Sheinkopf.

In the past few weeks, multiple claims have run rampant regarding certain village laws that would supposedly limit the number of non-biologically related individuals legally allowed to occupy a single residency.

We at The New Paltz Oracle understand how these new laws can be seen as an application of the village’s discontent with students living within the village vicinity and their power to respond with action to curtail the occurrence of this.

The student population rightfully believes that we are a significant component of the village community, so the seemingly “us vs. them” view the village often conveys is both confusing and unwarranted.

Being that part of this new law has the potential to impact students who wish to live with their friends off campus, it is a law that hinders – not aids or assists – a portion of the village population.

In an effort that appears to decrease the amount of students, who are an integral part of the village community, that live in the village is an endeavor of a Village Board that does not care about their community as a whole, but a select group of residents that  do not wish to coexist with their student neighbors.

While noise, litter and loitering are all concerns  any community may face, decreasing the number of non-related individuals who may live together in one housing unit does not seem to be the answer; as such occurrences can take place by any number of individuals, in any location, student or non-student.

SUNY New Paltz has been a college since 1828. It can be assumed those who live in the village moved here after the fact. It can then be concluded that village residents willingly moved into a college town. Like every college town, there are student residents within the community who live, eat, shop and partake in nightlife.

Pigeonholing student residents of the village as troublesome and creating legislation in response to this, does nothing but foster resentment toward the village and the village government.

If this is not the view the village and Village Board has toward the students of SUNY New Paltz, the lack of communication from the board to the student population is not a clear indication of this. Rather, it implies the opposite – the village does not care about students. Creating and changing laws that can directly impact students living in the village yet not having nor seeking a student voice in these decisions illustrates this.

We urge the Village Board to consider the students and young residents of the village community when passing legislation  that can affect them and may even be passed in response to their presence. While we often encourage students to play their role in the village community and become more active in local government, we believe it is local government’s duty to provide a level of transparency.

The local New Paltz government, if striving to be fair and a representation of needs and desires of their community in its entirety, needs to more actively seek and acknowledge students as essential members of the New Paltz community.


Editorials represent the views of the majority of the editorial board. Columns, op-eds and letters, excluding editorials, are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.