DeKALB — Party-goers may have noticed an increased presence from police and university officials in the Greek Row neighborhood after new university protocols were implemented this semester.
NIU officials, in conjunction with members of the Student Association, started conducting compliance checks this semester for sanctioned parties held by student organizations, many of which are Greek organizations.
“They have really upped the stakes on police and involvement of [the Interfraternity Council] at frat parties that happen at night,” said Nicholas White, sophomore biology major and Alpha Sigma Phi member.
Student Conduct Director Jeanne Meyer said Student Involvement and Leadership Development officials sanction two to six parties every weekend. There are two different types of sanctions: those for alcohol-free parties and those for parties where alcohol will be served.
“Students said ‘we would like help in enforcing the rules so that it’s a level playing field,’ ” said Meyer.
Parties where alcohol is served must be sanctioned no matter their anticipated attendance and must include a guest list, according to the Student Involvement and Leadership Development’s off-campus social events policy. Alcohol-free parties do not require guest lists and only need to be sanctioned if the anticipated attendance is more than 100 people.
In accordance with the policy, any party involving alcohol must have a head event assistant from Student Conduct monitoring the event, and any party that reaches one hundred guests must have two assistants. High-risk weekends, like homecoming, Halloween and tugs, require two head event assistants no matter the size of the party.
“They go through this checklist they have — checking guest lists and wristbands, making sure we don’t have any hard liquor, things like that,” said Erick Morales, junior manufacturing and engineering technology major and Phi Kappa Sigma president.
Morales said Phi Kappa Sigma is still getting used to following the university guidelines, but they are improving with each event.
According to the off-campus social events policy, head event assistants will show up before events with the list of guidelines to ensure organizations are following the rules and will check in through the night to check if guidelines are being consistently met.
“Every single party that I’ve been to always has [officials] there to check to make sure everything is in hand,” said Michelle Parker, freshman pre-physical therapy major and Sigma Sigma Sigma member. “They make sure nothing sketchy is going on.”
Meyer said the compliance checks help the university keep in line with the Clery Act, a 1990 law requiring universities to track certain events that occur in campus-affiliated houses. The legislation also requires all universities participating in financial aid programs to keep track of crime on campus and in the areas surrounding campus.
The school’s social policy surrounding parties prohibits the consumption of more than six drinks and requires organizations supplying alcohol to also provide food and non-alcoholic drinks. It also prohibits the availability of hard alcohol.
“The goal is to have responsible drinking,” Meyer said. “It’s a lot harder to overconsume with beer and wine than it is with hard alcohol.”
There have been nine violations identified so far this semester, but only four cases have been found to have violations. Meyer said there has been no significant increase in reported violations even with the introduction of compliance checks. There were three violations found to have occurred during the 2016-2017 school year.
Meyer said the regulations affect all student organizations on campus, not just fraternities and sororities.
“So, if we all are members of the debate team, and we all rent an apartment together, and we have a party, that would not apply,” Meyer said. “But if we have a party and say ‘the debate team is having a party,’ it would apply.”
Off-campus events held by student organizations involving alcohol must have a sign near the bar explaining the law against alcohol consumption by those under the age of 21 and a sign informing party-goers about the Huskie Safe Line service in accordance with the off-campus social events policy.
Student Involvement and Leadership Development hosts mock parties to train students on how to behave when certain situations arise, such as a party getting out of control or how to handle sensitive situations.
“I’m kinda on both sides here; I understand their purpose,” Morales said. “They’re conducted fairly, but the only thing is that we don’t ever get a report back on what happens, but other than that, they’re fair.”