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GSC voices frustration with noise ordinance enforcement

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Representatives of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) voiced their confusion and frustration regarding the University’s enforcement of a county noise ordinance that restricts excessive noise after 10 p.m. during their Wednesday meeting.

Councilors continued their conversation from last week’s meeting and again alluded to student organizers’ decision to cancel this year’s Graduate Halloween Celebration at Rains Housing as an example of how the ordinance is harming graduate students’ social life.

Councilors recently learned that the Halloween party had been canceled due to the new noise ordinance and alcohol safety policy imposed by the Graduate Life Office (GLO). The alcohol policy requires one Community Associate (CA) to serve as a sober monitor for every 25 people in attendance at a graduate student social event. Graduate student event organizers felt that this ratio would be impossible to manage at such a large event, according to the councilors. 

Some graduate students in attendance also shared their concerns about the noise ordinance.

“This ordinance greatly impacted our jobs,” said Joan O’Bryan, the head CA for Rains and a fourth-year political science Ph.D. student. “We want GSC to speak out against this ordinance.”

Many councilors echoed O’Bryan’s sentiment, and some added that they felt that the University had a more relaxed stance about the noise ordinance for social events that occurred during the Alumni Reunion Weekend. 

GSC co-social chair and Chloe Glikbarg ’21 M.S. ’22 said that she could hear the alumni parties “so loudly” even though she lives “past Munger.” She called Stanford’s apparent lack of enforcement of the ordinance “incredibly hypocritical.”

Student Affairs spokesperson Pat Harris wrote in a statement to The Daily that “amplified sound at this past weekend’s alumni gatherings ended at 10 p.m. at most locations.” 

“We seek to enforce all requirements fairly,” Harris wrote. “We acknowledge the pandemic has introduced a new set of requirements, and we appreciate how students have been working to balance limiting the spread of COVID-19, supporting social life on campus and being good neighbors,” she added.

Councilors also discussed the possibility of relocating social events to another venue to avoid infractions of the noise ordinance. 

“Part of what I’d like to look at is having music and dancing away from the housing, looking at a place that could be rented inexpensively so you can have the event and not impact the neighborhood you live in,” said Snehal Naik, senior director of the Stanford Office of Student Engagement. 

The GSC also revisited concerns about increasing student access to spaces at EVGR. 

Councilors talked with Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) representatives about why the bathrooms on the outside of EVGR are still unavailable to students who live outside EVGR. R&DE representatives said that they plan to open the bathrooms on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

They said that during these hours, individuals will not need to swipe their student IDs in order to enter the bathrooms. The R&DE representatives said, however, that they are still having trouble identifying students in off-campus and non-Stanford subsidized housing in order to grant these individuals access to EVGR facilities.

This article has been updated to include comment from Student Affairs spokesperson Pat Harris.

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Contact Tiernan Rhodes at news 'at' stanforddaily.com