More and more students are living in the area around campus, according to Student Affairs, and a larger number of students are interacting with community members each day.
The increase in students has also meant an increase in parties.
“The biggest complaint I get is student parties, from community members and the leaders representing those community members,” said David Galaviz, executive director of local government relations for the university.
Galaviz said the university has more than 400 partnerships with local schools, giving USC a direct stake in the welfare of elementary and high school students nearby.
“We don’t want them being kept up late on school nights or any night by USC student parties,” Galaviz said. “But at the same time, we went to college too and we want students to be able to have some fun as well.”
Jorge Crespo, a 51-year-old man who lives three blocks north of campus, said students can be disrespectful by partying.
“The parties are too loud and the streets are very messy in the aftermath,” Crespo said. “There should be more of an agreement and understanding between both groups.”
The Department of Public Safety has repeatedly said parties most often get shut down when DPS officers receive complaints from residents who live near students.
Galaviz said Student Affairs has been working on a code of conduct to teach students how to be better neighbors.
“[We’d like for] students to have a greater understanding and greater sensitivity that they are living in a residential community that the university and the surrounding community to be a part of,” Galaviz said. “We don’t want them to just live there for nine months and leave, though that does happen. We want them to feel like they’re investing in South Los Angeles and in the history of the area.”
At the same time, families and other long-term residents have been displaced.
In 1999, more than 90 percent of the housing on 36th Place between Vermont and Budlong avenues served the community, according to a survey from United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement of Los Angeles. In 2009, 25 percent of housing remained community-serving while the remaining 75 percent was developed into non-university-owned student housing.
The university assigned CSC yellow jackets to the area west of Vermont Avenue for additional security last year in response to the larger number of students living there.
Marie Mendez, a mother of three living four blocks from the south side of campus, said there are more students living in the area around her home in the last two years.
“It has definitely had an impact,” Mendez said. “I can see more kids in the area shopping or just walking about.”
Galaviz said the university hopes to partially reduce the number of students living in the community with The Village, which will add 4,200 beds to university housing, but that USC doesn’t have another place to add housing.
“The university committed to not buy anything west of Vermont [Avenue] and we haven’t done that,” Galaviz said. “We can’t buy anything from Exposition Park because it’s owned by the city and we can’t go east because there’s warehouses and factories.”
President of the Neighborhood Council Shawn Simons said moving students into university housing will help the situation.
“The Village is a perfect initiative for the school to promote unity in the community as well as provide locals with their privacy and usual surroundings,” Simon said.
The Village will add an estimated 3,000 permanent jobs to the area.
“We’re proud of our history and partnership in South Los Angeles,” Galaviz said. “The university’s been here for 130-plus years. When other institutions left, the university could have left, but the university stayed. We’re very proud of that.”