The party is over: Durham residents are fed up with Duke’s residential fraternal parties

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — College parties aren’t new, but neighbors in one Durham neighborhood say those parties have gotten out of hand.

More than 250 neighbors have signed this change.org petition to remove Duke University fraternity houses from residential neighborhoods. The petition states that five homes in the Tuscaloosa-Lakewood neighborhood, which are rented by members of Alpha Delta Phi, have been hosting parties for decades and disturbing neighbors.

Susan Sewell is a board member of the Tuscaloosa-Lakewood Neighborhood Association and she said she appreciates the presence of Duke students locally, but extracurricular activities can sometimes spiral out of control.

“We love that Duke students live in our neighborhood, but this particular one is a party house,” Sewell said.

She said house parties had been going on since 2008. And she, along with other neighbors, reported one party on Saturday as particularly loud and disturbing.

“It was loud, it was disruptive, it was dangerous with so much alcohol — (we saw) people walking through traffic,” Sewell said. “And as you can see, there’s no parking here, which means their ubers were all over the street disrupting traffic.”

A Duke University spokesperson said the fraternity is not a recognized student organization.

“We expect all Duke students to be respectful neighbors and good citizens in the community,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations and Director of Communications at Duke. “Students who live off-campus must obey local laws and ordinances like any other resident, and we will hold individuals accountable for behavior that violates university policies.”

Sewell is calling on Durham Police to stick to a three-strike system, she said, that the department instituted in 2018, starting with a warning and ending with a citation.

CBS 17 knocked on the doors of the houses, but got no response from any of them.

In a statement, the national office of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity wrote:

“Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity does not own, rent or manage any property in Durham, NC, and is not responsible for student housing arrangements. Although some chapter members may be among the students renting private homes, we encourage neighbors to raise any concerns with the property owner. The fellowship supports holding individuals found responsible for misconduct accountable for their actions.

Additionally, Durham City Council member Leonardo Williams said he planned to speak to students in the houses and attend the next neighborhood association meeting.

“It’s good to have fun, but let’s do it responsibly. You have neighbors here,” Williams said.

CBS 17 contacted the Durham Police Department to find out more about their efforts, including the three-knock system, but did not hear back.

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