Officials review Lagoon events

By M. Michelle Byrne

Two NIU vice presidents will review incidents connected with Thursday’s party at the West Lagoon that lead to the arrival of four police departments and the arrest of an NIU student for mob action.

Jon Dalton, NIU vice president of Student Affairs, said in a press release Friday that he and James Harder, interim vice president for Business and Operations, will conduct “an administrative review of actions by students and the police response.”

Gregory Thomas, 19, 715 Grant Towers South, was arrested in his room for mob action and accepting alcohol as a minor at 3:07 p.m. Friday, University Police Lieutenant Ron Williams said.

Williams said further investigation of the matter was pending and further arrests “are possible.”

A Northern Star photographer, George White, 22, 810 Kimberly Dr. Apt. 102, was taken into custody by the UPs Thursday night, but later was released with no charges, said Jerry Thompson, faculty adviser of the Star. Thompson said State’s Attorney Phil DiMarzio is reviewing the matter at the request of the university.

Dalton said, “To depict the event as a large-scale disruption or as a ‘student riot,’ as some have, is simply not the case.” Dalton, who arrived at the scene of the party shortly after police were called, said (from what he saw), “It was essentially disorderly conduct, but by-and-large most students there exhibited good behavior. Most of the students I saw were on-lookers.”

Six DeKalb and University Police squad cars were damaged in the incident. DeKalb Police Chief Joe Maciejewski said three DeKalb squad cars were damaged; one squad had a broken windshield, one had a scratched windshield and one had a flat tire.

Williams said at least three UP squad cars were damaged by thrown objects. One squad had a broken windshield and apparently slashed tires, he said.

Williams said several UP officers were injured slightly in the incident, and Maciejewski said no DeKalb police officers were injured.

Williams said UP reports indicated “about 150 to 175” students were gathered at the campus’ Ecological Park (West Lagoon) when UPs requested assistance from DeKalb and Sycamore police departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Police.

Dalton said a number of students had been partying in the area in the late afternoon and early evening, but police were called shortly after 10 p.m. because noise from the party was bothering students trying to study.

The arrival of police cars and their flashing lights then attracted many other students from the dormitories and “finally some throwing of beer bottles and fireworks by students who did not want to obey police orders to clear the area,” Dalton said.