Last week, Public Safety issued a warning to Seton Hall students advising them to avoid 366 Wilden Place, a house in the town of South Orange. The warning comes in light of repeated reports and complaints about the location that “have included potential violations of law, University policy, and risks to personal safety,” according to Public Safety.
This home is traditionally known to house members of the Sigma Pi fraternity, whose Delta-Epsilon chapter at Seton Hall was revoked last April due to “numerous infractions of university and organizational policy.” According to Michael Davis, assistant director of leadership development, these issues dealt specifically with areas of health and safety.
According to the email from Public Safety, there have been reports of physical injury, charging “admission” to parties and providing alcohol to minors. Despite repeated attempts by the South Orange Police Department (SOPD) and university officials, these reports have continued. The email also stated that effective Oct. 15, Safe Ride will no longer service 366 Wilden Place.
Patrick Linfante, associate vice president and director of Public Safety, said that Public Safety has been getting complaints about this house for the past two academic years. He also said that investigations were conducted by the SOPD, Public Safety and the Dean of Students Office and fines and warnings were issued to the registered residents of the property.
“Do not frequent the location 366 Wilden Place,” Linfante said. “Do not attend any parties or events sponsored by Sigma Pi Fraternity as they are no longer recognized by Seton Hall or nationally.”
Sgt. Adrian Acevedo of SOPD said that the house has been a problem for “quite some time.”
“We [the town of South Orange] have lots of off-campus housing,” he said. “Usually, there are no long-standing issues. We will respond to a call at a particular location and generally people get the message. This house, however, just can’t get their act together.”
According to Sgt. Acevedo, the SOPD has responded to calls about this house 14 times in 2018 alone. The types of calls range from noise complaints to aggravated assault. Acevedo also said that when the SOPD has entered the house in the past, there was stolen South Orange property on display, such as street signs.
Acevedo then said that the SOPD has an Animal House Ordinance in place on the house. This means that if any one rental in the town of South Orange has “three quality-of-life violations in a given school year,” the SOPD issues a summons to the owner of the property and a $1,000 fine.
“What I can say is, we’ve got to kind of check our behavior wherever we go,” Acevedo said. “We should police ourselves and our behavior wherever we are. If you know that a location is a problem, you’re ahead of the game in terms of acting properly.”
A resident of the house who asked to remain anonymous emailed The Setonian to speak on behalf of those living at 366 Wilden Place. The source said that the residents of the house are “honestly offended by the school.”
“This house has 12 residents this year, all of which are new, and us being targeted is not fair,” the person said. “We don’t understand the difference between our house and other fraternities in the eyes of the school. They attack us rather than help us and give no consideration for our future. The email to all the students was unwarranted and an attack on our right to due process.”
The source went on to say that Seton Hall should be focusing on more pertinent issues at hand.
“The fact that this email was put over the recent sexual assault case in town is absurd and unethical,” the resident said. “The school in essence deemed us more unsafe than the open sexual assault case that no student was directly emailed or notified about. The administration worries too much about nonsense rather than the well-being of the students.”
The resident concluded by saying that the inhabitants of the house are hard-working, intelligent students, mostly in the business school.
“This deemed problem should not have affected us or the students to the magnitude the school has taken it to.”
Isabel Soisson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.