Editorial: New plan won’t achieve safety goals

NIU has outdone itself this time.

Recently, a new policy concerning security for off-campus parties was put into action by members of the Student Association and the NIU administration. This policy, dubbed the Off Campus Security Policy, makes it possible for full-time NIU students to request NIU police provide security for parties and social gatherings that occur at off-campus locations on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The Northern Star Editorial Board not only finds this new policy ridiculous, but useless. According to an April 29 Northern Star article, the SA Senate budgeted $10,000 for this new service, which we believe few, if any, students will take advantage of.

In a Northern Star article today, John Jones, associate vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said the new policy was created as a way to make students feel safer and to help move toward removing the perception of NIU as an unsafe campus.

We disagree.

NIU police as hired security at off-campus parties will do little, if anything, to make party-goers feel safe. Police are often unwelcome sights at off-campus soirees, and a squad car parked outside the party will more than likely scare people away.

The presence of bullet-proof vests and police-issued weaponry is enough to frighten anyone away from a party. Indeed, these factors may scare away some of the “bad eggs” trying to party at NIU. However, there is still the potential for violence regardless if the police are right outside the door or not. It is entirely possible that police security could escalate the situation rather than calm it.

Furthermore, in the article today, NIU Police Sgt. Alan Smith said officers who provide security for these parties will still be required to “address any illegal activity they observe.” Pursuant to this, officers providing security will patrol inside and outside of the party, presumably mingling with the guests and acting on any illegal activity they come across. If NIU is going to provide security for off-campus gatherings, it should do so in a way that does not include the possibility of citations or arrests of the host and guests. NIU Police must have better things to do than moonlight as security guards for college parties — or at least we hope so.

NIU also has a set list of regulations a host must go through in order to be eligible for off-campus security, including getting approval from the residence’s landlord to have the party in the first place. There are few landlords in DeKalb that do not have some sort of an anti-party clause written into their leases. These regulations are just another reason why this service will likely go unused.

This new policy shows how out of touch certain members of the Student Association and NIU administration are with the “ordinary” students at NIU. Were regular students even consulted during the research and planning process? It doesn’t seem so.

The Northern Star Editorial Board feels NIU should focus on its primary obligation: the education of young adults, not monitoring what students choose to do in their free time.