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Duke Student Affairs

This message is being sent to all Duke undergraduates living off-campus this fall. 

Friday, August 20, 2021
Dear off-campus students,  
Student Affairs is delighted to welcome you back for another academic year! We also want to share some important reminders with you about living off campus in the Durham community.  

Living off campus makes you an ambassador for Duke in your neighborhood. How you and your guests conduct yourselves leaves a lasting impression on your neighbors. Strive to be the type of neighbor you would want living near your loved ones. 

Please keep in mind these important considerations as you settle into your community, as they summarize the greatest concerns we hear from your neighbors: 
  • COVID: The highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 is complicating our ability to return fully to our pre-March 2020 energy and interactions. Please do your part to reduce the spread by masking indoors, eating outside as much as possible, and participating in surveillance testing. There has never been a more important time to be a good neighbor, helping to keep the most vulnerable among us safer.
  • Noise: Many of you live in a residential neighborhood with many non-student families with full-time jobs. Please be respectful of your neighbors and the quiet enjoyment of their homes that they deserve. The City of Durham Noise Ordinance prohibits noise above 50 dB(A) after 11:00 p.m. seven days a week. During daytime or evening the maximum residential decibel level is 60, which is equivalent to the volume of an average adult voice in normal conversation at three feet. 
  • Social Events: What you intend to be a small, quiet gathering can quickly turn into a much larger event. Your house or apartment is not designed to have a large number of guests, and it is not appropriate for buses or other large-capacity vehicles to drop guests off/pick them up. Visitors and traffic (parking, Ubers, etc.) associated with gatherings at your home can result in responses from neighbors, administrators, and/or law enforcement. Note that hosts of an event also risk assumption of liability should anything go awry. 
  • Trash: Living off campus means that you are responsible for more caretaking duties than you had living in a Duke-managed residence hall or apartment. These may include keeping your lawn, hallway, or courtyard free of debris. If you are in a house, it may include placing your trash in a canister by the curb on a designated pickup day. Know what day that is, and be sure to move your container away from the curb by the end of your pickup day.
  • Alcohol: You may or may not be of the legal drinking age (21). Be mindful that distributing alcohol to underage individuals is a violation of both Duke’s Alcohol Policy and NC law. 
  • Zoning Ordinance: Durham outlines that “no more than three (3) unrelated occupants shall occupy a dwelling.” Additional information may be found in the Durham Zoning Ordinance and the Tenant Training Program Manual
Remember that in addition to following local and state ordinances, you remain accountable to expectations for your conduct as outlined in the 2021-2022 The Duke Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for Students and the Undergraduate Student COVID-19 Policy Plan. Note that Duke-specific and local public health guidelines may change during the academic year. 

When we learn of neighbor concerns, members of the Dean of Students Office will reach out to your residence to share the information and gather your perspective. While we expect that many issues can be resolved less formally, flagrant or repeated reports may be referred to the university’s disciplinary process. 

Finally, we want to mention a few safety considerations. Please note that you may have contacted Duke University Police Department (DUPD) directly for emergencies while living on campus. For emergency assistance off campus, however, you should dial 911. Additionally, we encourage you to download the LiveSafe app (App Store or Google Play) for use on or off campus. LiveSafe allows you to send real-time tips through the touch of a button to the DUPD, which monitors messages 24/7. With the popular SafeWalk feature, you can invite friends to virtually escort you to a destination on a real-time map.  

We hope you have a fun and safe year as a Durham resident. If you have questions or concerns about this information, please contact the Dean of Students Office at (919) 668-3853 or deanofstudents@studentaffairs.duke.edu. Please let us know how we can be support you in the year ahead. Best wishes for a great start to the fall semester!   


John Blackshear  
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students 

Clay Adams  
Vice Dean of Students