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Durham residents want to turn down volume on off-campus Duke parties

February 13, 2018

Loud, off-campus parties hosted by Duke University students are irritating residents in neighborhoods near Duke’s East Campus.

Residents plan to meet Tuesday with university administrators to find a solution to the problem.

“What I want to end is not the party, but the noise being in my home,” said Beverly Meeks, who lives in the Trinity Heights neighborhood. “L<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>oud parties, where there are 50, 100 people in and out of the house with music blaring, do not belong in a residential neighborhood.”

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>Durham police said they have responded to 20 noise complaints since the beginning of 2016 at two homes on Onslow Street that neighbors describe as “party houses.”

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>“I didn’t party to such an extent that my neighbors would call the police,” Meeks said.

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>Alisa Johnson said the problem isn’t limited to Trinity Heights, citing a house on Wilkerson Avenue in the Burch Avenue neighborhood where police had to break up a rowdy party two weeks ago.

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>“Everyone who lives next to a party house has experienced being unable to sleep, having noise levels in their homes which are incredibly disruptive, having to deal with public urination,” said Johnson, chairwoman of Durham Neighborhoods United.

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>The group was formed five years ago to address common concerns about Duke and Duke students.

<span style=“font-size:10.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Verdana”,sans-serif”>Larry Moneta, Duke’s vice president for student affairs, said students who live off campus are subject to Durham’s noise ordinance, which prohibits “disruptive noise” at any hour of the day.

″[W]e visit with all off-campus students at the start of the school year to encourage them and educate them on how to be good neighbors,” Moneta said in a statement. ”[A]ll students, whether they live on or off campus, are subject to the student conduct process at any time.”

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>Meeks said Duke should live up to that stance and be held accountable for student behavior, even off campus.

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>“I believe Duke is responsible for resolving this,” she said. “If Duke is saying that’s not something we want our students to do, then they shouldn’t be here. The students shouldn’t be here.”

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>Johnson said she blames the students and their landlords for the parties.

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>“There are hundreds of seniors, Duke seniors, living all over Durham, but there are only a handful of seniors who are causing problems because of the size and the scope of their parties,” she said. “They certainly know how to behave themselves. It’s a choice that we would like them to make.”

<span style=“font-size:11.0pt”><span style=“font-family:“Calibri”,sans-serif”>A student who lives in one of the so-called party houses said he and his roommates are respectful of their neighbors.