Fraternities are now required to have a security team present on high-risk weekends such as Monon Bell and Little 5. The policy has seen changes over the past year after Nolan Security decided not to renew their contract with DePauw University because of liability issues concerning alcohol.
Fraternities say, however, it is difficult to find their own security, while others question whether security will really have an effect on DePauw’s troubling alcohol statistics.
Julia Sutherlin, assistant dean of campus life, said in past years fraternities were required to have security when they hosted an open event or hard alcohol was being served. After Nolan stepped away in January 2017, Sutherlin and her team met with the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to discuss how to manage events without security. Their compromise was to not serve hard alcohol at parties under the new regulations brought forth.
However, there was still a push from the cabinet to have security at parties. “This was our compromise to say, ‘We’re not going to require them at all these other types of events that we had in the past,” Sutherlin said. “But we know that these weekends tend to be weekends where students take more risks, that there are often more guests on campus, and so we need to ensure their safety, so we require the security just for those four weekends’.” Other high risk weekends include the first weekend first-year students are allowed on Greek property and Halloween.
Events with alcohol are registered through Sutherlin’s office. Organizations wishing to host events need to fill out a Google form that outlines what the risk plan is, what alcohol is being served, a guest list if the event is closed, and other logistical details such as time and place. The form needs to be submitted before Tuesday at noon the week of the event.
Sutherlin said a committee of representatives made up of students and staff from various groups on campus determines if events should be registered. Sutherlin and Beta Theta Pi’s President senior Michael Littau both said there are ways a party could not be registered. “There cannot be an incident the weekend before, previous issues need to be addressed, and you can’t have community standards charges,” Littau said.
Beta Theta Pi, Delta Tau Delta, and Sigma Chi’s presidents all said they used Nolan Security when they were contracted with DePauw. Senior Ryan Price, president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., said they used Nolan, but not very often.
The three IFC presidents interviewed said it was hard to find third party security that would work a party. Junior Cole Taylor, Delta Tau Delta’s president, said they went through more than 20 security companies before finding Blue Line Security out of Indianapolis.
“They gave the chapters no guides. They said, ‘You need to find a licensed third party security team that is willing to work with you if you want to register an event on those weekends,’” Littau said.
Taylor said because of the difficulties in finding companies to work with them, he liked having the school contract a security company for them. Price said the extensive registration process may discourage some organizations from registering their events. “We don’t like being told what is and isn’t allowed. We don’t like being told what to do,” Price said.
Senior Aislee Nieves, Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc., said she does not expect to see a fight break out when she sees a security team at an event. However, she said just because there is a security team, it does not mean all students feel safe, and feels that just because someone can stop a fight from breaking out does not mean they can prevent all types of crime. “I don’t feel like I can really kick my feet back because Nolan is here,” said Nieves. “There’s a private sphere; there’s an emotional, unsafe girl getting picked on in the back.”
Blue Line Security and Graham Security are two companies being used by fraternities for their events. Taylor said Blue Line costs $225 for four hours and Littau and Robert Sherman, Sigma Chi’s president, said Graham costs $390 for four hours.
Jim Graham, a security guard at Graham Security, said they choose to cover fraternity events because it is something they are used to. “We’ve been in the business for 22 years and we’ve covered a lot of events,” said Graham.
Graham said a typical night consists of observing the event and making sure people stay safe. He said the team will step in if they think someone has had too much to drink or if they need to call the police or EMT. “Kids are going to do what they want to do, but our priority as professionals is to keep the kids safe,” Graham said.
Sherman said one of his frustrations is needing the security guards at all. “We’ve established throughout the year that the biggest issue on this campus is high risk drinking and the high BACs (blood alcohol contents),” said Sherman. “I can’t honestly say that I think having three security guards in my house is going to lower the BACs of the partygoers that evening; I just don’t really see that correlation.”
Sherman also said the new system is a step up from what it was in the past. He said old systems were impractical and the current system allows the fraternities and the administration to be more open with one another.
Despite frustrations with the policy changes and system, both Sutherlin and presidents said the new system is meant to keep students safe on campus. Taylor said, “Security is there for safety. They’re trained on people’s safety and to stop fights.” Price said the whole process is meant to keep people safe while they enjoy themselves on campus.