Last Saturday, HackCollege reported on how residents around Loyola Marymount University were blaming Twitter (among other things) on the recent increase in off-campus parties. KNBC4 covered it on Friday and the Loyolan, LMU’s student-run newspaper, picked up the story in today’s issue. It has officially hit the fan.

Take It to the (Online) Streets

Most interesting though, has been the forum with which the residents and students are bickering. They have taken their qualms online. A Westchester resident has been operating his own blog called WestchesterParents. A few of the recent posts highlight the growing party problem in the neighborhood among other things, like LAX expansion. A few students (including myself) have jumped in on the fray in the blog’s comments.

On the KNBC4 video page, 53 comments have been posted on the video at the time of writing. The all-but-defunct JuicyCampus has a thread with 2 comments on the subject. Here at LMU, it’s all people are talking about.

The entire scenario has been very interesting to see unfold. To my knowledge, it’s one of the first times that an online medium has been the battleground for such a dispute. It might help to get a sense of exactly what is going on by examining the views of both sides…

In the Residents’ Corner

The residents in Westchester claim that the off-campus parties and the property damage resulting has significantly increased in the past 5 years. Residents claim that the increase in enrollment is partially to blame. Since 2005, LMU’s enrollment has increased from just under 5,500 to 5,699 according to the Princeton Review.

Some of the residents’ grievances are as follows:

  • Student parties are loud.

  • Student parties are sometimes illegal as spelled out by the LMU code of student conduct.

  • Students regularly urinate on lawns.

  • Students have sex on lawns.

  • Students litter.

  • Students curse at residents when residents attempt to take pictures of belligerent students.

  • Students have technology that allows house parties to quickly reconvene at other locations.

As evidenced by:

In the Students’ Corner

The students here at LMU are concerned most with their right to party, myself included. Some of the reasoning on the students’ side includes:

  • Why would a resident move to Westchester and not expect college parties?

  • The parties in contention are only on the weekend.

  • Not all residents throwing parties are disrespectful to their neighbors.

  • Students are going to party, no matter what.

As evidenced by:

The Real Fundamental Issues

While the students and residents seem to be only talking past each other (which only result in escalation), I think there are a few fundamental reasons why the situation has gotten to this point:

  • Many Jesuit Universities do not have “frat rows.” LMU is one of those institutions. Most frat rows are ugly places, but they concentrate all of the debauchery into one part of the neighborhood. There are many party houses right now, but they are spread out across the neighborhood.

  • The drinking age is 21. Freshman, sophomores, and some juniors are not allowed to drink. Getting caught is much less likely off-campus. Students venture off campus to avoid the potential double-whammy of LAPD and LMU smackdowns.

  • Americans are uptight about noise, parties and privacy.

Do neighbors of your university complain about off-campus parties? Has your school stepped in to mitigate the complaints? Let us know in a few comments!