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NIU pilot program to offer security for student social events

April 24, 2012

Northern Illinois University’s Department of Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD) is teaming up with the Department of Police and Public Safety to provide students with on-site security for off-campus social events held at private residences on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights as part of a new pilot program that begins this weekend.

An NIU police officer speaks with students next to an emergency call box.The pilot program, which was developed as a result of a recommendation from an NIU student safety summit, allows students to request a security presence by registering the event with SILD, which will facilitate security arrangements with NIU Police on behalf of the student. Registration materials must be submitted to SILD no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday of the week that the function is planned.  The deadline for this first week will be 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“It’s important, because we’ve seen an increase in situations where non-students or those who don’t have as much invested in this institution want to come and be a part of the social scene,” says Elliot Echols, Student Association president. “This program is amazing because it will allow students to feel safe while at the same time allowing them to socially engage with their peers.”

The program is limited to three locations per night, with venue selection based on the following criteria: first-come-first-served, size of the party, history with the individual, and any relevant knowledge about guests or those invited. The first three events that are registered and approved by SILD will receive security. Final determination regarding any issues is determined by Student Affairs & Enrollment Management after consultation with NIU Police and other university authorities.

“This idea is one that has come out of the student safety summit, and the university supports the rights and responsibilities of NIU students to hosts safe and responsible social events,” says Brian O. Hemphill, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “This initiative provides a strong partnership with students to provide a safe environment for those events.”

The terms of the security agreement allow the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety to provide a visible security presence with the understanding that any violations of local, state, and federal laws will require due action by police.

“I think this is a step in the right direction for the university,” says NIU Student Association speaker Austin Quick. “This is one more layer of protection that the university is providing, and it makes a strong statement that we’re providing opportunities for safe parties off campus by having a heightened police presence out there.”

Under the terms of an interagency agreement inked in September 2011, the NIU and DeKalb Police Departments jointly patrol the northwest portion of DeKalb north of the Union Pacific Railroad and west of Garden Road.

Interested students should complete and return the registration form, which may be picked up in person at the SILD office (Campus Life Building 150) or downloaded, and arrange a 15-minute consultation with a Student Involvement & Leadership Development staff member.

The student registering private events must be a current full-time NIU student, can only register events for his/her residence and must agree to follow and adhere to all university policies, Student Code of Conduct, and state and federal laws.

“I think it’s a groundbreaking opportunity,” says NIU student trustee Jaemin Robertson. “It definitely brings great comfort to students–and I’m pretty sure for administrators—that when [NIU] police are involved at social events, it creates a welcoming environment for students…”