Quincy House Resident Dean Judith F. Chapman sent out an email to the Quincy community this past Thursday requesting that students refrain from calling the Harvard University Police Department with noise complaints.
Chapman’s email came in response to concerns from two Quincy residents who had seen their registered parties shut down in the past several weeks by HUPD for noise complaints before 2 a.m., which is the required end time for a weekend room party.
Writing that she sees party registration as “a temporary, *reasonable* noise permit,” Chapman urged Quincy residents who were bothered by loud party music to first contact the party hosts to resolve the issue.
She instructed students to reach out to the on-call tutor rather than HUPD if they are uncomfortable reaching out to the party hosts, or if they feel that the noise level is “unreasonable and unhealthy.”
In an interview with The Crimson, Chapman said she thought the students who called HUPD to complain about their neighbor’s party noise represent a small percentage of the House population.
“I think we have a couple of people in the House who expect that they
should be able to study in their room on weekend nights,” Chapman said. “I have empathy for them, but I think if you live in a college dorm it’s reasonable to expect to not be able to sleep before 2
a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.”
Adams House Resident Dean Sharon L. Howell, who declined to comment on the situation in Quincy, said she expects Adams residents to reach out to loud neighbors before calling HUPD.
However, Howell said she “would never want to discourage people from calling HUPD,” and believed it would be appropriate to call the police about “chronic noises” coming from an unidentifiable source.
Both Chapman and Howell said that HUPD “rarely” shuts down parties in their Houses.
Quincy House resident Jeremy Patashnik ’12, who has had two parties shut down in his room by HUPD this semester, did not reach out to Chapman directly but spoke with one of the student hosts who had complained to the resident dean.
Patashnik said he thinks that when students cause House parties to be shut down unnecessarily, they interfere with efforts to create alternative social spaces to final clubs.
“One noise complaint from one individual doesn’t outweigh the fact that fifty or sixty people are having a good time,” he said.
Patashnik said that he and his roommates had not received any complaints from his neighbors or the on-call tutor before HUPD shut down their parties in response to a noise complaint call.
Quincy House Committee Co-Chair Catherine G. Katz ’13 said that while she sympathizes with students who are sensitive to noise levels in their hallways, she doesn’t think they should direct their calls immediately to HUPD.
Quincy’s room party registration form suggests that party hosts alert their neighbors in advance about an upcoming party, and provide a phone number they can call “before filing a complaint with HUPD.”
HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano could not be reached for comment.
—Staff writer Rebecca D. Robbins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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