Now that you are living off campus not only are you able to enjoy being a part of the Lehigh community, but you also have tons of events and opportunities to take advantage of in the larger Bethlehem community.
Many of your neighbors may in fact be other Lehigh students however, when you choose to live off-campus you are becoming a resident of Bethlehem. To continue pleasant interactions and to avoid issues with neighbors it is important to be considerate when planning a social event at your residence. When planning a party to consider the follow suggestions to avoid any consequences.
Planning your party:
- Only invite people that you know and an amount that you can manage safely
- Inform neighbors and leave them with contact information to encourage them to let you know of any concerns or problems they have
- Assure neighbors of your plans to set up the party and to clean after. They are more likely to understand if you are honest and open with them.
- Do not collect money
- Know your guest
- Have food and non-alcoholic beverages available to guest
- Do not allow guest to leave the house with a cup, empty or full
- Make sure there are people who are remaining sober throughout the party to monitor the party and deal with any problems that might occur
- Check the noise level of the party by walking the perimeter of your house every so often
- Do not let guest drive home after drinking and do not let guest all leave or arrive at once. It will draw attention to the party
- Clean up any trash that is left from the party both on your own property and that may have spread to any of your neighbors' property
- Thank your neighbors for cooperating
These suggestions for the planning and execution of your event, is for the safety of yourselves, your guest, and the members of your community. It is important to remember that alcohol can only be possessed and consumed by those who are at least 21 years of age. Not providing alcohol to those under the legal drinking age is the responsibility of all members of the living unit. Failure to follow them is likely to result in police attention and citation.
In Bethlehem, a peace disturbance is defined by the following:
"A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm...engages in fighting or threatening, or in tumultuous behavior, makes unreasonable noise, uses obscene language or makes an obscene gesture, creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act which serves no legitimate purpose..."
"Whoever willfully makes or causes...loud, boisterous, and unseemly noise or disturbance to the annoyance of the peaceable residents nearby..." commits disorderly conduct and a disorderly house is considered a "boisterous gathering."
Unnecessary noises are considered public nuisance. City police respond to citizen complaints about noise and other disturbances, usually with a warning first, and then with the issuance of citations if more complaints are made. In some neighborhoods where noise is a frequent problem, residents simply call the police as an initial response. Citations carry fines because they are issued upon the violation of a City ordinance. These fines can range up to $600.
Avoid a citation; they can’t be ignored once received
Being issued a citation means that you will also be referred to the Lehigh University judicial system. Additionally, the information on the citation is considered public information and will likely appear in local papers. Serving alcohol to minors results in an arrest and, if found guilty, carries a minimum fine of $1,000. The standard University penalty is suspension or expulsion.
Did You Know?
- In Bethlehem, it is illegal to carry or possess any open vessel containing alcohol in a public place.
- Individuals under the age of 21 have been cited for possession of alcohol because they were in a motor vehicle with alcohol, even if someone in the vehicle was 21 or older.
- In Pennsylvania, the following underage drinking violations carry a MANDATORY SUSPENSION OF DRIVER'S LICENSE in addition to a fine:
○ Lying about your age to obtain alcohol
○ Purchasing, consuming, possessing, or transporting alcohol
○ Carrying a fake ID card
- If you are an adult and convicted of knowingly selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor you face penalties of:
○ A minimum of $1,000 fine for a first offense
○ A $2,500 fine for a second offense
- In Pennsylvania, the legal age for consumption, possession, and transportation of alcohol is 21.