CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In the near future, Morgantown residents might have to "register" with the city if they're going to have a party.
They also might find their landlords incorporating or enforcing a "no-party" clause in rental agreements.
These are some of the many measures city and West Virginia University officials are considering to crack down on the wild behavior seen last weekend.
Corey Farris, WVU dean of students, and Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla both said Thursday that more needs to be done to prevent riotous behavior following football victories.
Farris said WVU is encouraging landlords to consider the terms of lease agreements.
"When they saw what happened this weekend . . . they said, 'I guess we're not going to look the other way anymore,' " Farris said.
He thinks many landlords, particularly in the Sunnyside area, have rules in lease agreements that prohibit large parties. However, he's not sure landlords actually have enforced those policies.
The school wants all landlords to include such policies in lease agreements, Farris said. It's in the landlord's best interest as well as it could prevent property damage or allow landlords to evict tenants before the city can declare a residence a nuisance.
If the city makes such a declaration, it can evict the tenants and not allow the landlord to continue to rent that unit for a while, Farris said.
"I know landlords don't want their property torn up or the chance to lose income," he said. "It does make sense for the landlords to say, 'I want this in my lease. I want a no-party clause."
The mayor is skeptical that the city could enforce an ordinance requiring the clauses. However, he does think the concept of "registered" parties could prevent shenanigans from escalating.
Many college towns already require people to let authorities know when they plan to have a party of a particular size. Manilla thinks the registration is like a contract holding people accountable for party attendance and a way for law enforcement to know where potential trouble could crop up.
The idea was proposed during a meeting with city and school officials earlier in the week. Although no proposals are officially in the works yet, Manilla thought everyone was receptive to the registration idea.
"It kind of perked them up. They kind of smiled a little bit," he said of reactions at the meeting.
Following the weekend riots, city and school officials quickly announced there would be action to prevent similar situations in the future. University and city personnel went
door to door Thursday in Sunnyside and other neighborhoods, Farris said.
Groups of students and law enforcement officers reminded people of the consequences of causing a ruckus. He said the effort was not only to deter troublemakers, but also to remind bystanders they can contribute to the problem.
"The hooligans ... they're doing it for an audience," Farris said. "If there was not anybody there to watch them, it wouldn't be worth the time. They're certainly attention seekers."