Saying “no” to Neighbors Say No

Doug Close, Opinions editor

Doug Close, Opinions editor

If you cruise down North Grand St., North Center St., or really any notable street in Orange for long enough, it’s a sure bet that your eyes will land upon a “Neighbors Say No” sign planted in someone’s front yard.

For those who don’t know, Neighbors Say No is, pulling straight from their website, “a small group of residents coalesced to play an active role in fighting the expansion plan until our concerns can be properly addressed.”

That’s fair.

But what Neighbors Say No fail to realize is the aggressive and divisive nature their current approach has. Rather than the Old Towne Preservation Association, who have offered reasonable concerns as people who want to see the historical nature of Old Towne kept intact as Chapman continues to grow, Neighbors Say No has singled out off-campus Chapman students as the main reason for “lowering (their) quality of life.”

I take issue with such a polarizing statement. I don’t think this current strategy is constructive. It is one where Neighbors Say No feels the need to record house parties getting shut down and keep repeating the same rhetoric that Chapman students are the downfall of Orange’s culture.

We’re not. We are young adults figuring ourselves out. We socialize. We stay up late, we are sometimes too loud and we will absolutely make mistakes. Those mistakes have consequences.

But one thing we are not is the reason for the lowering of Orange’s quality of life. Sweeping statements that clump all Chapman students as people who exude “disrespectful behavior” is not fair. Just as not every permanent resident of Orange is the same, we Chapman students hold diverse backgrounds, views and lifestyles that do not fit the box that Neighbors Say No puts us in. Also, asking for a map of where all of us live is reckless. Our landlords can be reached via public records, and a map of where we all live is reckless and will further make us the targets of break-ins.

Rather than continuing this divisive strategy, I do not understand why groups like Neighbors Say No don’t approach us directly and open a constructive dialogue. If you just cry anti-Chapman student statements from a distance, what motivation are any of the exact people you are complaining about going to have to make things better? It only further separates us and turns this issue into one of throwing verbal stones back and forth instead of actually working together to find a solution.

Chapman students being too loud in a house on a Friday night is not the reason for Orange losing any of its integrity. Bigger issues in this city like the alarming amount of break-ins and a divisive outlook on the minority communities here are what tear down Orange’s integrity.

We didn’t used to be here. We may not have lived here as long as you. But seniority is no excuse to tell us our lifestyles and views are invalid or less important than anybody else’s.

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