INC NEWS -
Annoyed residents off East Campus form new group (today's Chronicle)
bwatu at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 8 07:23:27 EDT 2005
Annoyed residents off East form new group
Duke Chronicle (April 08, 2005)
photo caption: Students file into a party in a
neighborhood near East Campus, where residents have
complained about noise.
After years of battling noise, litter and other
alcohol-related problems, distressed residents around
East Campus have decided it is time to develop new
responses to the ongoing disruptions.
Members of Trinity Park, Trinity Heights and other
local communities met at Asbury Methodist Church March
31 to suggest the creation of a new organization,
Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health, that would
focus on solving problems created by disruptive Duke
students. Using the strength of a more organized
coalition, MATCHs aims are more ambitious than the
neighbors previous solutions and include pushing for
legislative change at the city level and using media
advocacy to win support for their cause.
We have the right to live in a safe and healthy
environmentthe same as everyone else, said Trinity
Park resident Christina Headrick, who helped
coordinate some of her communitys recent proposals.
One of the overall goals of MATCH will be to minimize
dangerous behavior, said Christopher McLaughlin,
assistant dean for student affairs at the School of
Law and a Trinity Heights resident.
Headrick said the group would function partially as a
Durham-based counterpart to BlueSPARC, a
campus-community coalition established at Duke earlier
this academic year to address similar issues.
photo caption of student party: For years, residents
have complained about noise and litter from parties.
Claire Feldman-Riordan, BlueSPARCs director,
explained the group was created to address
alcohol-related issues. It encompasses topics such as
on- and off-campus social life and relationships with
the Durham community.
Im certain that BlueSPARC and MATCH will be able to
benefit and learn from one another, she said.
Josh Parker, a resident of Gregson Street, also
emphasized this need for cooperation and
The students want social options and the residents
want a relatively quiet neighborhood. I think we can
get to both of those but we must work together and the
Duke administration is going to have to play a key
Headrick and other residents proposed a variety of
legislative initiatives at the meeting, ranging from
changes in house rental licensing laws to mechanisms
for holding keg purchasers responsible when they
distribute alcohol to minors. Residents showed the
most support, however, for a plan that advocated
alterations in Durhams noisy assembly laws, largely
because they saw it as the most viable option
Based on the discussion at the first meeting, the
city noise ordinance could be strengthened by
increasing enforcement, raising fines or changing the
terms of the ordinance altogether, Feldman-Riordan
Senior Pasha Majdi, outgoing Duke Student Government
president, sophomore Joel Kliksberg, outgoing DSG vice
president of community interaction and junior Logan
Leinster, Kliksbergs successor, represented students
at the meeting.
Kliksberg, along with a handful of residents, remained
skeptical about the noise ordinance proposal.
I think the neighbors seem to be pursuing some
options that are excellent, however, I was
disappointed by those suggested at the meeting, he
said. To raise fines on noise violations... not only
would it be ineffective but it is not a positive way
of addressing the actual problem.
Kliksberg added that such a broad approach is
premature for an incident isolated to only about six
housesreferring to the residences, many of them
occupied by members of fraternities, that police and
neighbors have pinpointed as problem.
In response, many of the residents still emphasize
this option is being approached because so many others
Calling it premature ignores the fact that these same
problems have existed for decades, McLaughlin said.
Weve seen the same type of behavior and same kind of
problems. They're not unique to this generation of
college students.... Im not sure what more we need to
McLaughlin also added that the neighborhoods near East
Campus are shifting from student houses to family
I think the changing nature of these neighborhoods
makes these efforts more important, and quite frankly,
more likely to succeed, he said.
Despite the continuing tensions, residents and
students alike have noted some recent improvement.
Over the past couple of months that Ive been
involved with the issue, Ive seen some amazing, very
friendly attempts from neighbors to work with Duke
students, Kliksberg said.
If nothing else, several residents said, the
communication that has slowly begun to develop between
the University, its students and the surrounding
Durham communities is progress.
If we foster that [communication] and use it as a
tool to solve problems, we might find solutions that
are not only mutually beneficial, but actually solve
the problem, Parker said.
While both Duke and the community pledge continuing
dedication to addressing the issue, they acknowledge
that a solution will not come quickly.
We are not going to see results over any short period
of time, Headrick said. It will probably take an
effort over several years to create a safer
environment in our neighborhoods.
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