City’s response limited

By Paul Wagner and Daron Walker

Assistant City Manager Gary Boden said there are as many complaints from students against other students as any other type of complaints. “Regardless of who it is (making a complaint), they are just residents of the city of DeKalb,” he said.

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Philip DiMarzio said without a complaint, police would be permitted to enter a party if they had “probable cause” a crime was being committed.

If the place is a “dwelling,” police would need a search warrant, DiMarzio said. The ability to investigate a party is largely based on the circumstances, he said.

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow said the city does not have “a whole lot of power. DeKalb isn’t a police state. We (police) won’t come knocking on the door unless there is a complaint.”

Sparrow, who also is the DeKalb liquor commissioner, said he only has authority over organizations after they violate city liquor license laws. Organizations selling alcohol are required by city ordinance to obtain a class “G” license, which allows the group to sell for a 24-hour period.

Sparrow said if a group violates the provisions of the license, he only can refuse to grant licenses in the future. He said he would not necessarily refuse to grant a license due to past violations because the students living in fraternities change from year to year.

“If there is a series of 5 to 6 things (violations) since the beginning of the semester, I’m probably going to deny (a license request). I’ve never had a situation like that,” Sparrow said.

The liability insurance required to obtain a “G” license has been “a deterrent from getting the license,” Sparrow said. It is “quite expensive” to obtain the one-day insurance, he said.

Beierlotzer said other illegal activities besides underage drinking occur at parties. “The bigger they (parties) are, the more likely there will be some undesirable activity.”

Boden said alcohol-related problems are not limited to the Greek Row area. “There is no indication that one subgroup of students is more or less responsible (for alcohol and related problems).”

Organizations serving alcohol to persons can be held for damages if one of the drinkers is injured after consuming alcohol, Beierlotzer said. Hosts charged with providing alcohol to minors who later are involved in accidents can leave themselves open for “criminal charges and big lawsuits,” he said.

According to DeKalb County Courthouse records, one NIU fraternity has a pending lawsuit against them for an alchohol-related incident. The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity was sued for $15,000 in damages stemming from an Aug. 26, 1984 fight.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit claimed he was struck by someone who received alcohol at the Sig Ep’s house. The case has not been resolved and there are no court dates set.

To alleviate problems relating to drinking and parties, DeKalb has distributed a flyer which explains how to “party appropriately,” Boden said. “As far as having parties, it’s perfectly acceptable as long as it’s done legally and peacefully.”

Beierlotzer said parties in which hosts charge to enter or sell cups are considered selling alcohol. He said these types of charges have been proven in local courts.

Tomorrow: Sexual assault at NIU and steps campus groups have taken to help victims and prevent its occurence.