A petition to change the Town of Elon noise ordinance is circulating social media with thousands of signatures, gaining more every hour.
The change in the noise ordinance was voted into effect this January, making it no longer required for police to issue a verbal warning on a noise complaint call before writing a citation.
In 2018, there were 400 noise complaints in the Town of Elon that lead to only one citation. Since January, town police have already issued 5 citations from 140 complaints.
Junior Logan Marcus said he started the petition because some of his close friends got noise violations a few weeks ago, then he read the Elon News Network article earlier this week.
“The article that I saw sorta resurged my interest in it, and I figured it was a perfect opportunity for someone to bring it to the larger community’s attention,” Marcus said.
The petition claims the ordinance “effectively punishes the act of partying around the Elon University campus” and will “end off-campus weekend social events.”
“Do their best to be fair”
Emily Sharpe, one of the five members of Elon’s Board of Alderman who unanimously voted the ordinance into effect, says students are taking the change out of context.
“I think that we tend to read the headlines and not the details,” Sharpe said. “The only thing that changed was that now the police department is not required to give a warning. Does that mean they’re not gonna give a warning? No.”
What wasn’t in the headline was that last year one house recieved more than 30 noise complaints but wasn’t issued a single citation.
“I think it will just give the police department the flexibility that if there is a repeat offender or someone who is being excessively loud and obnoxious that they don’t have to be given a warning,” Sharpe said. “Our police department is very reasonable, they understand that this is a college town, and I think that they are gonna do their best to be fair.”
Lingering student concerns
Freshman Dave Quill believes that in the long run, more noise citations could negatively affect Elon’s admissions.
“It hurts the school more than anything in my mind. If word gets out to potential new parents and new students, people might not want to come here, because I’m gonna be frank here, kids won’t stop partying,” Quill said.
Marcus is a member of Elon’s chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, but he said the petition is not just about frat parties.
“Most organizations on campus have off-campus parties so it’s really not just about the fraternities, it’s about sort of the social scene of the university as a whole,” Marcus said.
Sharpe says she’s had several students reach out to her over Facebook and email with their concerns about the petition. She said she’s happy to talk with students and thinks everyone could be better off by having the students interact and understand each other’s points of view.
“I think it’s all about respect,” she said.
As for Marcus, he said he’s encouraging his friends to get involved more in local government.
“I just don’t think that students really realize that we can go to the meetings and speak our minds,” Marcus said.