USC students who party at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning are likely to wake up middle-aged men and women who have just completed a week at work. If the noise comes as a surprise, one can expect older citizens in the area to try to stop the festivities as quickly as possible — not to calmly voice their concerns to the party perpetrators.
After long weeks filled with midterms, classes and extracurricular activities, it is only natural that young and energetic students would want to relax at an off-campus party on a Friday night.
Since much of the housing between 36th Street and Vermont and Budlong avenues has been converted into living areas for USC students, and an increased number of students are living in non-university-owned housing, a surge in off-campus partying is also understandable.
When so many students live close to each other, however, they tend to forget about non-student residents of the community who are likely to be disturbed by loud house parties that continue until 1 or 2 a.m. in the morning.
Usually, when a house party disrupts community residents, they call USC’s Dept. of Public Safety, and DPS officers typically arrive promptly to shut down the party. Unfortunately, this situation isn’t ideal for anyone. The predicament could easily be resolved by a pre-arranged compromise between student hosts and their non-USC neighbors.
At the start of each semester, students who anticipate throwing parties throughout the year should notify neighboring community residents about their tentative plans. Together, prospective hosts and older citizens should agree on an acceptable noise level for parties, and the hosts should promise to clean up trash from the party on the day after the event to help keep community streets clean. This compromise would please both the community residents who want to catch up on their sleep and the USC students who are craving a night out uninterrupted by DPS officers.
Such a compromise would also help students improve USC’s reputation and discourage the unfair and outdated portrayal of USC as the “University of Spoiled Children,” an image that President C. L. Max Nikias has been trying to shed in his quest to elevate the university’s standing.
Though community residents might wish to eliminate the noise from USC parties altogether, we could soften their hearts — and the sensitivity of their ear buds — by showing them courtesy and attempting to compromise before throwing the parties.
Moreover, neighbors should be aware that many of these irksome parties are hosted by charitable organizations like Youths Exploring Passion, a group dedicated to mentoring pregnant teenagers at local high schools; Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, a group that discourages adolescents from engaging in sexual violence; and USC Active, which mentors young teenagers in high-risk nearby schools. By calling DPS to shut down these parties, neighbors are stemming funds that could make a difference in the areas around USC.
If a neighbor refuses to negotiate with potential party hosts regarding noise level prior to the party itself, he or she is being unreasonable about the reality of living next to college students. DPS should take such unwillingness to compromise into consideration before completely shutting down a party because of one noise complaint.
In general, however, USC students should learn to be considerate of their neighbors without being forced to end their nighttime activities early. Compromising with neighbors first will help students maintain amicable relationships with members of the surrounding community while continuing to enjoy house parties.
Lindsay Dale is a freshman majoring in communication.