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Castle Court owners prohibit mega-parties following complaints

The top party school in the country has lost its crown jewel.

Castle Court, one of the most popular party spots for students, is now barred from hosting any large parties, after complaints from Syracuse University and the city’s police.

An Aug. 19 email sent from Campus Hill management to residents of Castle Court reads:

“The University has expressed their very deep concern. Per our conversations with the University and the Syracuse Police Department, we wanted to officially let you know that this will not be allowed going forward and there will no longer be any large parties in the Castle Court parking lot.”

Along with its residents, Castle Court is occasionally home to tailgate parties, multiple bounce houses and massive, unofficial MayFest celebrations.

SU first reached out to the building management with issues concerning the out-of-control parties in 2013, Jamie Grant, Campus Hill’s director of operations, said in an email.

SU’s complaint included these safety concerns:

— Students hanging off balconies

— Disrupting traffic

— Setting fires in the parking lot

— Large crowds

— Excessive alcohol consumption

— Glass and debris in the parking lot

— Multiple noise complaints

Grant said the company agreed with the university’s complaints and found it appropriate to end the large-scale parking lot parties at Castle Court.

“Castle Court has always been a fun and popular place to live, even before the large scale parking lot parties, and will continue to be, but without it getting out of control and putting students at risk,” Grant said.

Kevin Quinn, senior vice president for public affairs, said in an email that SU is working with Campus Hill and SPD to address “issues of concern” that have occurred at Castle Court in recent years.

“In addition, this coming week we will be communicating directly with the residents of Castle Court about this,” he said.

Residents of Castle Court were disappointed with Campus Hill’s decision and SU’s involvement with the popular party spot’s demise.

Nick Seelig, a junior real estate and finance major and resident at Castle, said Campus Hill’s decision would be taking away an essential part of SU, insisting that students needed to “work hard, play hard.”

“I think it has to do with Syracuse being the No. 1 party school,” Seelig said about the decision. “Though it doesn’t relate to our academics, it has a negative connotation on our students.”

Zack Jacobson, a senior math major and Castle Court resident, said the parties rarely get out of hand. He said that every party hosted at Castle Court had private security guards to address safety issues.

In the SU Department of Public Safety’s 2014 crime logs, Castle Court had one report of a personal injury on Feb. 22.

In 2013, the year SU filed the complaint, there were three noise complaints and six reports of criminal mischief, according to DPS crime logs.

DPS representatives declined to comment on Campus Hill’s decision to end Castle Court’s parties.

Bob Dougherty, a Syracuse Common Councilor and member of the public safety committee, said the city has been looking at ways it could prevent out-of-control parties like those at Castle Court.

“Nobody’s against parties, but everyone’s against mini-Woodstocks,” he said. “You’ve got to draw a line somewhere.”

Dougherty said the Common Council is currently exploring a “social host law” for Syracuse — a law that could cause building owners to be stricter on parties.

The ordinance, which is already in effect in neighboring towns such as Cazenovia and Cortland, would hold the owner of the property responsible for issues such as underage drinking and other broken laws, Dougherty explained.

“Anything like that would have a pretty big effect in the university area, especially with parties going on,” he said.

While disappointed with Campus Hill’s decision, residents did not seem discouraged, hinting that the lot’s infamous parties would continue despite the ban.

Overheard from a resident who declined to give his name: “If you think this is going to stop me from shotgunning every weekend…”

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