Local News

Duke: Shared responsibility needed in student complaints

Posted April 10, 2009 6:16 p.m. EDT
Updated April 10, 2009 11:25 p.m. EDT

— Duke University says there must be shared responsibility in dealing with noise complaints regarding students who live off campus.

Residents of the Trinity Heights neighborhood on the edge of Duke's east campus have complained to the university for years about students' behavior off-campus and late-night partying.

"It's not every weekend, but on the weekends where it does happen, if you get up at three or four o'clock in the morning it's terrible," resident Steven Leypoldt said.

The complaints have prompted Durham Mayor Bill Bell to send a letter to Duke President Richard Brodhead saying students are allowed to go "seemingly unscathed."

At a meeting this week with city leaders, the university asked that landlords also be held accountable for what happens on their rental properties.

"If Duke owned those homes – absolutely, we would be responsible for them," said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations. "We don't. But those who do should have some amount of responsibility and accountability for what happens on those properties."

Duke believes it has already been promoting responsibility in area by helping facilitate the development of homes for faculty and staff.

"It's not perfect. No neighborhood near a college will ever be perfect," Shoenfeld said.

About 800 Duke undergraduates live off campus.