University Student Union creates new noise restrictions

Oscar Areliz

Don’t be surprised if things are a little bit quieter on campus soon.

Revisions made to the Amplified Sound Policy and Procedure will be enforced in future contracts made with the University Student Union.

The USU Board of Directors approved the new policy at its March 27 meeting. If an event has amplified sound at the USU or Satellite Student Union, it must be approved by the USU. In agreeing to the contract, the event holders must abide by the rules of the policy provided by the union.

“We don’t want there to be an impact outside the event,” said Jason Wang, USU associate director for operations and services. “We wouldn’t want to have meetings with music being heard from outside.”

Measuring the sound level of each event also ensures the safety of the crowd. It could prevent the crowd from possible hearing damage, Wang said.

Event holders using amplified sound during an indoor event must remain below or even with volume level of 85 decibels – about as loud as a loud truck passing by at three feet – when measured at a distance of 30 feet.

Previously, the USU never had an indoor sound restriction, Wang said.

Some of the indoor areas in the USU include the Grand Salon, Pub Sports Bar and Grill, the soon-to-be-built Freudian Sip Coffee House, and the games room. Amplified sound events held indoors are allowed during USU/SSU hours.

For outdoor events in the USU/SSU, the decibel level cannot exceed 90 decibels when measured at a distance of 45 feet. The decibels are being measured at a closer range, Wang said.

The previous outdoor noise restriction had been 90 decibels measured at a soundboard which was believed to have been further than 45 feet, Wang said.

Outdoor events are permitted on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

A maximum number of decibels are in place to contain the sound and not affect what is around the event.

The sound level is monitored by USU staff members using a decibel meter to measure the sound. A warning to lower the volume will be given to the event holder if the sound level exceeds the maximum number of decibels. The sound organizers will be given one minute to lower the volume.

If the event continues to exceed the maximum decibel level after three warnings, then the power supply to the sound system will be shut off for the rest of the event, according to the policy. If the equipment is damaged due to cutting the power off, the USU and CSUN would not be responsible for damage or repairs, the policy states.

Chances of there being damage to the equipment are small but possible, Wang said.

The procedure of cutting off the power after three warnings is still under review by the USU and lawyers to make sure it is legal.

While procedures change annually, the policy has not been revised since December of 1997, Wang said.

The new policy is due to complaints to USU representatives by students and kitchen workers at the pub, where concerts and karaoke events are held, Wang said.

“We’ve been having concerts in the pub and it definitely can get pretty loud,” Wang said.

Elham Iefua, sophomore biology major, sat down at the pub for the first time March 29 to eat her Subway sandwich. A concert was in session while she was eating.

“Sometimes it does get really loud,” Iefua said. “A lot of people enjoy loud music. I guess it depends on the person.”

The kitchen now has a bullhorn to be able to speak louder so students will not miss on hearing their number being called.

Oscar Areliz can be reached at city@csun.edu.