Fighting for the right to party

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“Club 440,” the residence of seven male BYU students,  became one of the most popular party spots south of campus over the course of fall semester. Policemen responded to noise complaints and put the brakes on their recent party.

The population immediately south of campus is a mix between students and families. While students tend to stay up late on weekends, families are often in bed much earlier. The Provo Police Department is forced to respond to noise complaints on a weekly basis, according to Sergeant Matt Siufanua. Siufanua said they don’t want to shut parties down and they try to give plenty of warnings.

[media-credit name=”Photo by Carter Hurst ” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
A few measures, such as talking with neighbors or applying for a permit, can protect college parties from breaking city noise regulations.
“Especially with our students we’re very understanding,” Siufanua said.

Club 440’s monthly parties were initially relatively small, but hundreds of people attended their recent gathering. Aside from increased attendance, Carter Hurst, a sound recording major from Boise, Idaho and resident of Club 440, described the volume of the party as similar to previous parties hosted by the house. Hurst was surprised when a guest walked up to his DJ stand and informed him the police were in the front yard.

Several police cars came to the house between midnight and one o’clock, threatening Club 440 should shut down the party or be subject to fines.

“If they left and had to come back for another complaint they would write a disturbing-the-peace ticket for $600,” Hurst said.

These extensive fines forced Brock Cutler, a junior in the exercise science program and roommate of Hurst, to shut the party down.

“I didn’t want to risk continuing the party and having a fine hanging over my head,” Cutler said.

Cutler suggested he would turn off the music for the party, but the police insisted they could not have hundreds of people congregated at the house. The police told Cutler he would be accountable if anyone disturbed the neighborhood, even after turning off the music, and that a ticket would be mailed to them if another call was made.

Angela Rowberry, a BYU graduate from Sandy, received a visit from the police during one of her parties last year. Rowberry was disappointed the police had to get involved.

“If my neighbors that were bugged would have come over and asked me to turn it down, I totally would have,” Rowberry said. “Police did not need to be called, especially since it was definitely not an out of control party. Just a normal college — and by college I mean normal BYU — party.”

After 10 p.m. noise volume cannot exceed 55 decibels, according to Provo’s noise regulations. The police department suggests that by getting a permit, sending out fliers and talking to neighbors about a start and finish time many complaints can be avoided.

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