SDSU Noise Raises Neighbors’ Concerns to New Decibel

Local community leader demands SDSU President Elliot Hirshman follow noise ordinance, walk the streets at midnight to see the atmosphere first-hand

Complaints about noise and drunken parties around San Diego State University have reached a new decibel this year as new student orientation begins. On Wednesday, the school promised change.

Over the weekend, the university hosted a party in front of SDSU’s iconic bell tower to welcome freshmen to campus.

But when the party reached capacity, students overflowed into the neighborhood’s streets, according to Susan Hopps-Tatem, who lives in the area.

She took video of the commotion when she was awakened at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, hearing the music’s bass through duel-paned windows half a mile away.

“If it had even gone until midnight, that might be acceptable, but 2 a.m.? Because then you have all these kids amped up and then you’re releasing them out into the neighborhoods where they parked. It’s a nightmare,” said Hopps-Tatum.

She said there was not enough campus police for the thousands of students, and while the school’s hosted party was nonalcoholic, she believes many students were drunk.

Hopps-Tatum is a member of the College Area Community Council, which reports to the San Diego City Council, so she is asking SDSU President Elliot Hirshman and the university to be consistent with their policies.

“Follow the noise ordinance,” she said. “Don’t have an out-of-control party that is OK the weekend before school starts but tell kids, ‘No, you have to shut down by 11.’ You can’t have all the things you tell the kids not to do.”

In a letter, Hopps-Tatum is inviting Hirshman to walk with the community at midnight Friday.

“I think if you see for yourself the very dangerous and out-of-control environment put into motion by your events, you may rethink some safety and supervision elements,” she said.

After fielding calls and emails from neighbors complaining about the party, SDSU said it is responding to each person individually and explaining changes that will be made.

A spokesperson outlined those changes in a statement sent to NBC 7 Wednesday:

“We are working with DJs of future events to reduce bass volume and ensure speakers are pointed away from local neighborhoods to minimize impact. We are also looking at the event lineup to see if there are other adjustments that need to be made to reduce the impact beyond campus boundaries.”

There is no word on whether Hirshman will accept the community’s invitation for Friday.

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