Guest Column: Don’t drive during Homecoming weekend

By Elliot Echols

“Welcome to Fort Knox.” Beginning today, our campus and the surrounding community of DeKalb will be welcomed with the strong arm of the law.

If this is your first college homecoming, let me first to say I am sorry for what you are about to encounter. Sadly, you may have a better time (entertainment-wise) staying in your residence hall room, ordering pizza and watching Redbox movies than trying to aimlessly search for a homecoming experience this weekend.

There’s a strong chance you will question your reasons for staying here over the weekend because every representation of Illinois law enforcement will make their presence known on every corner, block and around every business in DeKalb. The main entrance into the residence halls on Lucinda historically has been safeguarded by concrete barriers and several Illinois state police vehicles. In fact, it was two years ago I first discovered that Illinois state police drove Dodge Chargers. That was the highlight of my homecoming experience here at NIU, because I thought it was amazing for police to drive performance vehicles at a time when our state was (though it still is) in a financial crisis.

However, my goal, along with the help of the university, is to make sure we all stay safe. Yes, that is the duty and responsibility of law enforcement, but that is not always the case here. Unfortunately, NIU has to protect its own. This weekend I encourage all students to try other means of transportation such as walking or using the Late Night Ride Service. Only drive if it is an emergency. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to look after one another.

The list of things the police can and are going to pull us over for is immeasurable. If you absolutely have to drive, make sure you are physically able to and have the appropriate credentials to man a vehicle with you at all times. With the increased media coverage our institution has gotten this year, I predict officers of the law will not have much leniency when it comes to pulling students over. And once you are pulled over I don’t think the word leniency will even exist. Historically, students have felt the increased manpower is unnecessary and is the main host for the creation of a chaotic environment. I stand firmly in agreement with those students, but at the same time we must understand our situation and the power and abilities of the police. With that said, let’s cheer our football team onto another victory, watch and protect one another and try to enjoy our homecoming weekend. Don’t be afraid to disagree with the increased police presence, but overall respect its authority.

If you want to voice your opinion about the increased police presence, the lack of social engagement opportunities, or your experience during this weekend, the student Association would love to hear your thoughts. Bring a complaint, idea, or suggestion to the SA office in typed form anytime next week beginning Monday from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, so that we can personally hear your concerns and further our initiative in making DeKalb the best student-friendly city in the Midwest.

Student Association

Northern Illinois University

Campus Life Building 180E

DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

(815) 753-0483

Fax: (815) 753-0481

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM