Set of rules keep crowds in control for safety reasons

Halloween night is the biggest party night of the year for Kent State students, and downtown Kent is the party's headquarters. But some students heading downtown may make a pit stop along the way, as fraternity houses can also be party destinations.

To avoid incidents that could dampen the holiday spirit, Interfraternity Council and the Center for Student Involvement have implemented strict procedures and guidelines for the fraternities that choose to have parties at their houses.

If fraternities and sororities are to have a party, they need to complete an off-campus event registration form that details everything from times and locations to how the Greek organization will handle alcohol consumption.

Interfraternity Council president Anthony Griffith said as of Wednesday, six fraternities had registered for parties this weekend. There are 10 to 12 actual letter houses and there are a few annex houses throughout town.

Greg Jarvie, vice president and dean of students, said if something goes array, the university has the right to put the organizations on probation and even potentially suspend the chapter.

"If there is underage drinking or an illegal party that is brought to our attention, we will investigate and talk to the city police and then we will determine, with the information that we have and interviewing the appropriate people, to make a decision," Jarvie said. "It depends on the severity of everything."

Delta Upsilon fraternity on Lincoln Street experienced an incident during the 2006 Halloween festivities where a fight broke out in their front lawn, during which a man was thrown into the path of a tow truck and run over by its back two wheels. A Delta Upsilon member was charged with felonious assault for his involvement in the incident.

This year Delta Upsilon decided not to have Halloween festivities to keep its insurance policy strong.

"We're locking down the house on Halloween night," Delta Upsilon president Justin Pierce said. "It's too high risk. There are too many people out; it's just too much."

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is having festivities at their house this year despite what happened at their house during Halloween just one year ago. Last year, their fraternity house caught on fire in the late hours of the night. Jamie Farrell, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon member who resides in the house, said the fraternity has taken many precautions such as installing a new sprinkler system and illuminating exit signs, developing exit strategies and having volunteer firefighters on staff.

"Before last year, it was like one of those, 'Oh, it will never happen to you,' things," Ferrell said. "You hear about it, it never happens to you. Now that it has happened to us, it's a very eye-opening experience."

Brett Polczynski, Interfraternity Council vice president and secretary of Delta Chi, said fraternities have to be very specific on how they handle alcohol at parties, such as only giving out single 12 ounce cans of beer, not allowing liquor or drinking games such as beer pong or flip cup and only having one six-pack of beer per person.

"If anything were to happen, we have an insurance policy that covers that as long as we followed all the guidelines," Polczynski said. "We try to keep this house a safe place for people that we know. We only have people in our house that we know; we don't let people just looking for a place to party come in here"

David Sufka, Sigma Chi recruitment chairman, said his fraternity is going to have sober brothers the whole night to make sure nothing is damaged or stolen and to prevent fights.

"From all the people stopping here and leaving, there could be 1000 people easily throughout the night," Sufka said. "When the house is full, the house is full. We don't have a set limit of people."

Sufka had problems in the past with large crowds at his fraternity house.

"Last year, my room got absolutely destroyed and things got broke," Sufka said. "I got mirrors and posters and stuff knocked down. It just happens.

"I've never seen anything bad happen here besides kids getting arrested across the street," he said. "The police really don't worry about the houses; they have bigger things to worry about."

Sufka said Halloween is the one night out of the entire year where there is only so much you can do because there are just so many people.

Matt Seaburn, Delta Tau Delta member, said it is an advantage and a disadvantage to be next to downtown.

"It goes either way because people can see that we're having a party and they will obviously come up," Seaburn said. "But it is also a disadvantage for the same thing because people will come up to our party just to see what it is all about."

Griffith said the parties would be checked on throughout the night.

"Me and Teniell (assistant director for Greek affairs) are going to check everything out, but it's going to be a little more relaxed," Griffith said. "There will probably be a couple people out from the executive board just checking things out too."

Contact Greek life reporter Samantha Donegan at sdonegan@kent.edu.

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