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Crowded “Mini-Dorms” Trouble College Area Residents

College Area residents are furious about so-called “mini-dorms” near SDSU’s campus. These frustrated residents argue that the noise, trash, and partying of SDSU students who live off-campus in sin

Crowded “Mini-Dorms” Trouble College Area Residents

Tom Fudge: The expression mini-dorm is well known among residents of the neighborhoods that surround San Diego State University. And calling a house a mini-dorm is not meant to be a compliment.

Typically, the expression refers to a house that’s owned by an absentee landlord and is rented out to students. Surely some of them are filled with model young citizens. But neighborhood residents will tell you that most are not. In fact, mini-dorms tend to be nuisance properties, generating noise and trash. That’s not to mention a combination of unattractive behaviors that are associated with drinking alcohol.


Housing students at San Diego State is a serious issue, and mini-dorms serve a purpose. But there is a clear conflict between mini-dorm residents and the people who would like the college area to be a place to live long-term and raise families.


  • Jim Madaffer , San Diego city councilman representing the seventh district.
  • Cynthia Avery , director of residential education at SDSU.
  • Jason Foster , director of media relations for SDSU.

(Photo: Trash litters the sidewalk and students' cars fill the driveway at a "mini-dorm" in the College area. Tobin Vaughn/KPBS. )