Community campaign aims to quiet student disorderliness

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Berkeley residents living near Clark Kerr Campus are fed up with loud student parties and the noise the parties produce.

A local association called the Piedmont/Parker Neighborhood Watch launched what they are calling a Quiet Campaign on Friday in an attempt to quell student noise and drunken disorderliness by putting up posters and raising community awareness.

The project is part of the group’s Happy Neighbors Project, a larger effort to deal with disruptive student behavior near the Clark Kerr Campus and surrounding area. The project works in partnership with PartySafe@Cal, a campaign run through the campus’s University Health Services that aims to reduce alcohol-related risks for the campus community by promoting safe partying practices.

“There are people really binge drinking, especially underage,” said Phil Bokovoy, block captain for the Piedmont/Parker Neighborhood Watch. “People relieve themselves in the driveways and gardens. There’s a lot of vandalism. A couple weeks ago, I had to call the police to come and transport a kid to the hospital.”

The pilot project will continue into late fall and will incentivize students with Pet Hugs and People Treats — an event filled with opportunities to play with pets and receive ice cream rewards — while also reiterating the benefits of creating a more harmonious community, Bokovoy said.

Much of the project’s activity is funded by a $7,500 grant from the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund awarded last year and is one of the first efforts of its kind, said Julie Sinai, director of local government and community affairs at UC Berkeley.

If the pilot project is successful, it might be expanded to reach more neighborhoods, Sinai said.

Clark Kerr resident and freshman Alma Pastor, however, said she has not noticed the issue of drunken behavior at Clark Kerr being that serious.

“There certainly are a lot of people walking around, but it’s not like that big of a deal,” Pastor said.

But according to Sinai, the noise and drunkenness issue is not a new problem for the Berkeley community.

“It’s an issue that has been a problem for an eternity on campus, and the neighbors are really taking a kind of proactive and good neighbor strategy to build bridges,” Sinai said.

Though the Happy Neighbors Project is an initiative led by the Piedmont/Parker Neighborhood Watch Group, it was a student-oriented effort in its origins, said coordinator for PartySafe@Cal Karen Hughes.

UC Berkeley students created the Happy Neighbors Project in 2009, though the initiative died after those students graduated. When the Piedmont/Parker Neighborhood Watch Group showed interest in creating a program to tackle student disorderliness, they then decided to take on this name and have continued cooperating with students, Hughes said.

“In an event on Friday, there were several RAs and there were University Health Services health workers and PartySafe interns,” Hughes said. “These are students who are helping with all aspects and who are continuing with peer-to-peer messaging.”

Jaehak Yu covers local government. Contact him at [email protected]

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  • pg

    GO TO http://www.ucberkeleyfrats.com to see how successful this new attempt will be. This is why our lawsuit is still pending. Each semester brings new students and without the proper guidance and supervision by the city, UC and local frat chapters, nothing will change.

  • A berkeley neighbor

    In the early 80s when the University purchased Clark Kerr from the sate (it was formerly the California School for the Deaf and Blind) the neighbors and the city opposed the purchase. In order for the sale to go through a set of covenants were imposed on the University that would protect the neighborhood from the impacts of students living on the Clark Kerr Campus. Many neighbors predate the students living at Clark Kerr, and are understandably upset with the increase in student numbers, and the increase in loud, noisy and drunken behavior.
    In addition, so many students, as reflected by the comments here, seem to think there is a different set of rules that apply to them. The fact is, once you’re an adult, you’re governed by all the same rules as other adults, and if you break the law there are consequences. If students choose to live in a nice, quiet residential neighborhood and break the rules, they should expect to suffer the consequences.

  • ParkerStResident

    Such a load of BS. I have dealt with Phil and his other high strung neighbors personally, having lived on Parker Street for 3 years, and they constantly dial 911 at the drop of a pin. All you have to do is sit on the porch at 11, 12 o’clock at night with one other person and chat, and the cops will be on your doorstep to tell you you’re being too loud. I lived in a large house and we had parties/get togethers maybe once a month or less, yet he would still call the cops promptly at 11pm. I can understand being fed up with noise if it’s every weekend or more than one night a week, but once a month? Really? Let people have some fun and stop getting off by killing it. One has to realize that you’re going to have a few noisy nights when you buy a house 5 blocks from a university campus and 1 block from Clark Kerr.

    • A responsible student

      Interesting that the neighbors waited until 11 to call the cops, given that the Berkeley quiet hours begin at 10. Sounds to me like they were cutting you some slack and you took advantage of it.

  • gobears

    Pet Hugs and People Treats? Haaaa

  • Useless

    First, rule of real estate: location, location, location. What would the average person expect to happen on weekends, living near a large university? Use common sense or deal with it.

  • Deej

    Man, oh man. Berkeley neighbors have it easy compared to those living in close proximity to Penn St (see: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/396/1-party-school) and other legit party schools.

    Now that I’ve aired that out, what are some alternatives to the bureaucracy that is UC Berkeley administration or using its police force? The neighbors have every right to be actively trying to reduce the noise levels, but they seem to be going about it the wrong way: by leveraging themselves against the partiers through a third party, they are alienating themselves from the very people who they need to be getting in with (the party crowd). Go knock on doors if you don’t like the noise levels! Crash the party at a reasonable hour and tell them to tone it down or GTFO.

  • 2014

    If you don’t like noise, don’t live in a college down. Police have far greater issues to deal with than your inability to use ear plugs when you sleep.

  • I_h8_disqus

    I am disappointed that there is so much police effort and money put into keeping students quiet, when there are so many muggings going on still.

    • http://twitter.com/ced1 CED

      Working people need to sleep. Grow up.

      • guestie

        A grown up should know better than to move across the street from a college dorm that has existed for decades.

      • CalBear

        Remember the guy who tried to sue the entire Greek system and failed? While I can understand where you are coming from, there are 25,000 undergraduates on this campus. Mostly between the ages of 18 and 23ish. Young people in that age group are going to want to party on the weekends and when they constitute the vast majority of an area, they are going to party. Police can (and are) trying to crack down as they have for years, but at the end of the day, there are just too many of us for you to reasonably expect to put an end to what goes on every weekend or even reasonably expect a significant decrease without putting an immense strain on police resources that would obviously be put to much better use trying to put an end to the muggings that are happening every weekend and the all too frequent sexual assaults.

        • pg

          We did not fail. The lawsuit is still pending. The wheels of justice turns very slowly. These events and continued problems further support our actions.