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Two CSUN Frat Houses Shut Down

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"... the kids who join the Greek organizations are very spirited. They are very much involved with all aspects of college life. They run for office and they are big philanthropists," a California State University Northridge (CSUN) student told the Daily News in an article about the city of Los Angeles ordering members of two off-campus CSUN fraternity houses, Zeta Beta Tau and Pi Kappa Alpha, to shut down. Hrmmm, if these students are such "philanthropists," wouldn't they have good will towards their community?

The homes, which were being rented out by the Greek organizations, are up for sale. On Friday, beer cans littered the overgrown lawns and junk was piled in the front yards. Upset neighbors said they put up with rowdy parties, traffic, fights and gutters filled with fast-food wrappers, beer bottles and condoms on their streets for far too long.

The Daily News reports that it took 25 years of the neighbors complaining for some kind of resolution. 25 years is a long time, but it's not like these were harsh violations of the law. So there was trash on the front lawn; the city's Building and Safety would come by and write a notice to comply. So there was trash in the gutter, parkway and sidewalk; Street Service Inspectors would come by and write a notice to comply. There were loud parties; the police would come by tell them to knock it off, maybe writing a small ticket. All very minor infractions of the law.

Of course, over a 25 year period, the cumulation of these events can be exasperating, especially if it was every weekend of the school year. Maybe one tactic that could have been employed years ago is a favorite of ours from an episode about neighbors on This American Life. Special guest, Mr. Rogers (of the famed PBS show) offered his advice: Once you and your neighbors get to know each other, either they will care so much and be more respectful or you will not be annoyed as much by what they do. Then the narrator, Davy Rothbart of FOUND Magazine, added, "for a lot of people, the only way they come in contact with their neighbors is through conflict."

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