Southside's Late-Night Noise Problem

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I have lived near the Clark Kerr Campus since 1984 when I was in graduate school and have lived around students for many years. I would like to share some of my observations about the current epidemic of noise and partying.

In recent months, the full force of the campus and law enforcement has come down on many students, who feel treated unfairly. As neighbors we have no other alternative but to involve the authorities, because the bad behavior, entitled attitudes and disrespect for our community has been increasing. One of the important lessons of university life for you as students is taking responsibility for your lives as adults and learning how to be members of the larger community. I would encourage you to listen to what campus officials are trying to teach you about living in the community, so that you won't end up on the other end of a citation or an arrest.

We have seen a big increase in drunken students in our neighborhood in the last four or five years. We have experienced increased noise and vandalism, and a big increase in the number of very large parties, with lots of alcohol, over the same period. Police calls to out-of-control parties have increased dramatically in our neighborhood, with some properties incurring over 100 calls over the last five years. In addition the city has enacted new legislation to penalize party houses, with significant fines on the first offense.

Students have become more disrespectful of neighbors who have attempted to intervene by asking for less noise and fewer parties. We've stopped students on the street in my neighborhood and asked them to be quiet, and we often get a response like this: "What do you expect when you live in a college town?" In addition, at least half of the students we've stopped were clearly under the influence of alcohol, which impairs judgment and can lead to disorderly behavior.

Neighbors are exhausted from trying to deal with the problems of illegal student conduct, and now involve the police and the campus Office of Student Conduct much more quickly. Many students don't seem to realize that drunk and disorderly behavior will result in neighborhood complaints to the police, and can subject them to police action that will follow them for the rest of their lives.Neighbors have found that students pay greater attention when the police or Student Conduct office contacts them.

The police department has confirmed that neighbors should call about "quiet hours" noise issues. They do respond and have stepped up by communicating alcohol and noise violations to the Student Conduct Office, which acts on them consistently. These actions can affect a student's standing at Cal and employment prospects in the future. I encourage every student to re-read the Campus Student Code of Conduct and pay attention to the standards that apply to off-campus as well as on-campus behaviors.


Phil Bokovoy is a Berkeley resident. Reply at [email protected]



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