Won’t you be my neighbor, professor?



by Maddy Saunders


Dean of Students Jerry Price’s recent move into the intersection of Sycamore and Shaffer, an area known for its student-hosted parties, brought a lot of interest to students worried about Big Brother come to watch over them. However, Price is not the only one to have moved into the neighborhood.


According to Mary Platt, director of communication and media relations, for about the past 15 years, Chapman has been purchasing houses along the perimeter of the campus for faculty, staff, and administration to move into. The university has been acquiring these houses in a two-block radius around campus to create a “buffer zone” between students and Orange residents. About 100 houses have been purchased so far.


Platt, who moved from Costa Mesa to live in a “Chapman house” on Lemon Street, said the philosophy behind acquiring the houses is that the faculty and administration that live there “love Chapman and won’t mind a little noise."


The “buffer zone” is part of Chapman’s plan to maintain an amicable relationship with the community of Orange.


Chief of Public Safety Randy Burba even lives in a “Chapman house,” said Platt.


All of the faculty that live in the “Chapman houses” pay monthly rent to the university. Other than water, the staff also pay for their own utilities.


“The rent is pretty much in line with what similar rental houses would cost around Orange County,” Platt said.


While the “buffer zone” is a reason for Chapman acquiring houses, it is not necessarily the primary purpose.


According Harold Hewitt Jr., Chapman’s executive vice president and chief operating officer:


“The main purpose of the program is to provide housing for recruitment and retention of faculty and staff. Another purpose is to reduce the impact of campus activities on neighbors such as large athletic events by owning and maintaining properties near the campus.”


As Chapman plans to continue its growth, it must receive the support of the community of Orange to do so.  According to Chapman’s latest Neighbor-to-Neighbor report, undergraduate enrollment is to increase 2 percent annually for the next five years. The growth of the student body may put more pressure on Chapman’s relationship with Orange residents.


“I would call this whole thing a delicate balance,” Platt said.


When the city was asked for a comment, it released this statement: “We are confident that both the university, and the students who come from all over the world to study there, will continue to work hard to be good neighbors and citizens of Orange.”


Other than the “Chapman houses," the University has several programs in place to help be a good neighbor to the community. For one, they have Neighbor-to-Neighbor meetings where residents can express their concerns and be heard by the administration in addition to a Neighbor website, hotline, and newsletter.


The university also wants to let the community know the great work and contributions Chapman students have accomplished.


“We want the students to feel a part of this community too,” Platt said.


Not all Chapman growth will take place in Orange. Chapman is constructing a campus in Irvine for graduate Health Science students. The university also plans on building more facilities like Panther Village so there are more nice living spaces off campus, not in the heart of Old Towne Orange.


While Price hasn’t been living in his new home for long, he is already enjoying being so close to campus. He is able to attend more lectures, events, and sporting games because of his proximity to campus. But he does acknowledge that his presence may be a “buzz kill” to the intersection.


“I have not noticed any raging parties in that area, although a recent one was pretty close," Price said.

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