Bringin' da noise: 70 years next to a fraternity


The house begins to shake. A woman is startled awake by the vibrations and loud noises. Seventy years of living next to Delta Tau Delta fraternity has given Jinsey Bingham a lot of nights like this. She closes her eyes and says, "just another party next door." 

Seven noise warnings were issued last weekend to various fraternity houses hosting events, but few took into consideration the effects of their partying on neighbors. Though the noise often disrupts everyday life for neighbors, many insist that the positives of the organizations outweigh the negatives. 

Bingham experienced Delt's party first hand Friday night as it shook her home. 

"The music was way too loud — way too loud. My bedroom and my office were just vibrating with the bass," Bingham said. 

Though she has experienced the ruckus of living next door for decades, Bingham claims that she does not see the experience in a negative light. After waking up to intoxicated men passed out on her porch, lawn chairs on her roof and, to her great delight, a pack of unopened beer in her backyard on various occasions, Bingham continues to value her neighbors. 

"I'm glad they're there. If I had some kind of calamity, I know they would be here right away, and that's a good feeling," Bingham said. 

Neighbors to Delta Upsilon fraternity Sheila and Jim Cooper agree that living next door to a fraternity house is more of a positive than a negative experience, though there have been rough patches. They recalled instances of waking up to the sound of members testing how far away they could hear their stereos, being blocked out of parking spots by women who stayed overnight and listening to music they don't enjoy. Jim Cooper, a former DePauw professor, said the DUs had "cocooned" themselves in their house, becoming unaware of the problems and thinking of others.  

Overall the Coopers felt living next to a fraternity house has not been as bad as they anticipated. 

 "There are far worse fraternities," Sheila Cooper said. 

For some neighbors, the noise gets to be too much. When that occurs, they call Public Safety and an officer either handles the issue directly or forwards the problem to the Interfraternity Council. Director of Public Safety Angie Nally said officers seek to be proactive rather than reactive so that neighbors have less reason to be upset.  

She said officers make an effort to be helpful in solving the problem before it gets out of hand and serious action needs to be taken. The house representatives are normally very receptive and comply with requests, but on occasion, the situation needs to be handled differently. 

"Nine times out of 10, [issuing a warning's] enough. Other times, if we have to continue to go back, they'll have to have the music off rather than turned down," Nally said.