UD to institute guest policy, stricter enforcements on St. Paddy’s Day

By: Sarah Devine – Asst. News Editor

The University of Dayton will focus on guests and preventative measures to ensure the safety of students on St. Patrick’s Day this year and to avoid a repeat of last year’s disturbance, UD officials said.

Associate Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Chris Schramm stressed above all, the university’s main priority is to ensure student safety.

“I’ve seen the evolution of St. Patrick’s Day and I certainly understand this [holiday] is part of our tradition, and we want to keep the history and tradition, but we want it to be safe,” Schramm said.

She said another concern is the reputation of the university.

“A harmful reputation of the university means a harmful reputation to [students’] degrees,” she said.

In the early morning hours of March 17, 2013, 12 Dayton area police jurisdictions were called to control a crowd in excess of 1,000 people on Kiefaber Street according to a Flyer News report published March 22, 2013. The crowd had grown unruly after a “40s at 4” party, with some individuals climbing on cars and throwing empty 40 oz. bottles into the street, as detailed in the report. Throughout the course of the incident, one non-student was arrested for underage drinking and five UD students received citations for non-compliance, according to the report.The disturbance received national attention from CNN and other news outlets.

In response to the events on St. Patrick’s Day last year, Schramm said: “I’m hoping students have said they are embarrassed too, and that this was an anomaly. We know this is not characteristic of our students, and they don’t want this to happen again.”

Schramm said there will be a special emphasis placed on guests this year. Students who live in residence halls with front desks will not be permitted to have external (non-UD student) guests, she said. Those buildings include: Marycrest Complex, Stuart Hall, Marianist Hall, Founders Hall, Virginia W. Kettering Complex, Lawnview Apartments and Campus South.

“What really instigated a lot of the real trouble [last year] was guests,” she explained.

“They can’t come spend the night and play with us when they don’t have the commitment [to the community].”

In order to enforce the no-guest policy, Schramm instructed students to carry their student IDs at all times. Those found without identification can be cited for non-compliance in accordance with the student handbook, she said.

UD Police Chief Bruce Burt said residence life will mostly be handling the enforcement of the guest policy, but Public Safety will intervene in situations where guests violate laws, and Public Safety will hold their hosts accountable for their actions.

He said he was a proponent for the distribution of wristbands in order to distinguish students from non-students, but he said the potential duration of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and a lack of “controlled access” to the student neighborhoods deterred the administration from taking that approach.

In addition to student ID enforcement, Public Safety officers will also be conducting more frequent ID checks to ensure individuals are 21-years-old if they look to be underage and are consuming alcohol, he said.

Schramm explained door access will be restricted to front door entry only in all residential buildings, like last year. Residence assistants will also be increasing their rounds, she said.

Schramm said her office has partnered with the Center for Student Involvement and the RecPlex to provide alternative activities on March 17. There will also be programming within residence halls and at the River Campus, she said.

In the student neighborhoods students should expect to see stations giving out water and food, she said.

Burt said students should also expect to see in an increase in law enforcement presence. He said the Ohio Department of Liquor Control and city of Dayton police may be patrolling the student neighborhoods, and the university has considered contracting with Sinclair Community College’s police.

“Our main objective is to keep crowds at a manageable size where we can control behavior and avoid the mob mentality,” he said.

Burt said all of the university’s efforts will be “extremely expensive.”

“We’re going to have all our officers working 12-hour shifts for up to five days in a row,” he said.

“Not only is this taxing on our budget, but it’s taxing on our officers, as far as fatigue and time away from their families. The overtime costs will be phenomenal.”

Burt was unable to give an exact estimate of the Public Safety costs for this year’s holiday.

Burt said it will also be costly for facilities management and parking services to have employees working around the clock. Parking lot access will be restricted this year and parking services will be towing vehicles parked in lots without permission, Burt said.

“We want to keep this a UD event and to deter outsiders with no other purpose besides to party with no buy into the community,” he said. “…We certainly don’t want to tell students they can’t come out and have a party, but they are expected to comply with the law…we will be taking strict enforcement.”

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper