SA talks of party patrol program

By Tammy Sholer

One of the ways to keep NIU students living off-campus from being suspended or arrested for having loud parties at all hours of the night became one of the main topics of discussion at the Student Association Senate meeting Sunday night.

SA Tenant Union Advisor Carey Ward said one way to prevent students from being arrested is “the party patrol program, where students serve as a buffer to tell parties that the cops are coming.”

Michelle Emmett, associate director for University Programming, said the program was initiated a few years ago by the SA, after NIU started cracking down on parties. Volunteer students would go to the party and tell the host to break it up or lower the noise, Emmett said.

Larry Bolles, director for the University Judicial Office, said he was accused of suspending a student for having a party where there was excess noise and students were urinating on the house next door. But he said, “I have never suspended a student for having a loud party.”

Ward said an anonymous student-client came to his office “upset” and “scared” because Bolles had threatened him with suspension if he had another party. The student wanted to remain anonymous because he was scared, Ward said.

Bolles said he had a “father-to-son” talk with the student about people urinating outside, and the student restrained people from urinating outside at the next party.

Bolles said NIU does not have the authority to punish off-campus students for having a loud party; that is the DeKalb Police’s jurisdiction. He did say, however, if anyone becomes intoxicated at a student’s party and is injured, the host is liable for the accident.

Ward said there has been more than one case of students being threatened with suspension for having loud or out-of-hand parties.

SA President Jim Fischer said the program was dissolved because students stopped volunteering. The SA now is looking into alternative means to start up the program again, such as paying students to be buffers, he said.

Ward said he brought the issue of students being arrested or suspended to the SA Senate’s attention to receive their guidance on how to proceed because what he does directly affects the SA. He said his purpose was not to attack Bolles, but to find a solution because he believes the issue can be worked out.

Bolles said NIU does not have the manpower to respond to complaints about loud parties, he said. Even with all the manpower the DeKalb Police has, they still do not respond for about two hours because there are numerous complaints, Bolles said. Also, the police return to the house two or three times before they arrest anyone, he said.

Fischer said the program only would improve the relationship between NIU, the police and the students who have parties. The program must receive SA Senate approval before it will be enacted, he said. Specific details for the program have not been worked out yet, Fischer said.

In addition, DeKalb citizens are complaining about the excessive partying that goes on, especially in the College/John Street area, Bolles said. Locals are putting pressure on the DeKalb City Council to stop the loud parties because there have been many out-of-hand parties, he said.