Statement from Councilwoman Kat Kerwin Regarding College Students Lack of Respect for their Community

May 17, 2020 | 0 comments

I have gotten multiple calls this week from concerned friends and neighbors who have witnessed reckless partying on Eaton Street. The partying, occurring in off-campus housing abutting Providence College comes at a time when the COVID-19 crisis remains extremely dangerous and is taking lives every day.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health gatherings are still limited to 5 or less, and these students refuse to comply with that and other safety precautions put forth by the Department.
These students endangered my community, a largely low income and black and brown community that has been hit hard by the pandemic. In fact, the “02908”, which is a popular housing company for students, was in the top 5 zip codes in the state for COVID-deaths.
A few days ago, a white student reportedly told a community member to “fall down the stairs” when she voiced her concern about student partying in her neighborhood. This news is especially troubling during a week when we have learned that two innocent, Black Americans lost their lives at the hands of white violence and multiple white police officers issued force when addressing Black and Brown Americans who were not wearing masks in public.
The Providence College community must learn to be more sensitive about their positionally in the community which they continue to gentrify and benefit from. I am disgusted by this behavior and I look forward to an apology from these students and a conversation with the College about how they will remedy this hurt that they have caused Smith Hill and my neighborhood.
To be clear, the problem is not exclusively Providence College students— Johnson and Wales University and Bryant College students also live around the PC campus on the street perpendicular to Eaton. Regardless, they remain the majority of students living in this area.
Kat Kerwin
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 12
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