Daily Egyptian

Player’s Ball is back

By Tierra Carpenter, @Tierramc_

Kappa Alpha Psi’s 38th annual Player’s Ball is returning to SIU on Saturday after about a four-year hiatus.

Player’s Ball is a large party that brings in college-aged people from across the midwest. It was held regularly until the fraternity that presents the event was made inactive roughly four years ago.

Kevin Gettis, a senior from Bellville studying history, said KAP decided to bring back the event because it’s something students enjoy.

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Gettis said proceeds from this event, as well as other paid events by the fraternity, will go toward Hadly and Havyn Noto, twin girls who suffer from mitochondrial myopathy.

“Their parents can’t afford the wheelchairs,” Gettis said. “They can’t afford the handicap accessible vehicles, so every single thing we’re doing is trying to help their parents fund the things that they need.”

As for the party itself, Gettis said some extra steps were taken to provide a safe environment for expected crowd of more than 2,000. He said there will be metal detectors, pat-downs, 27 SIU police officers, two emergency medical service vehicles, 20 volunteers and 20 chaperons. Some of the volunteers and chaperones include alumni, faculty and administrators.

The large-scale event policy suggests safety measures because of the prevalence of non-SIU students, who have caused problems at past Player’s Balls. 

“We aren’t trying to have people overbearing,” he said. “They’re literally just there to help people get in, and our volunteers will make sure that we’re getting people to where they need to go.”

Player’s Ball took about six months to plan, costing roughly $35,000 and has sold out in the past. This year’s party is expected to fill SIU Arena’s capacity of 2,500 people. Gettis said they were able to afford the event through contributions from alumni, previous fundraisers, ticket sales and Undergraduate Student Government.

Gettis, president of USG, said he always heard of Player’s Ball, and wanted to be a part of one.

“I look at it as the students who never got to experience it,” Gettis said. “So we tried to make it as best as possible.”

Gettis said he was able negotiate with administrators, such as interim Chancellor William Bradley Colwell, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Kevin Bame and Lori Stettler, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, to hold the party in SIU Arena, after the large-scale event policy in 2012 restricted the Player’s Ball to the Student Center Ballrooms.

He said the administration trusts them to have an event with no violence, which is what they plan to provide.

“We’re trying to party peacefully,” Gettis said. “We want to be social but at the same time we don’t want any issues to where we can’t have this anymore. … This is something I think we should all have a chance to experience, and I don’t want it to go away based off the current trend.”

Shayria Norris, a sophomore from Maywood studying Africana studies, said she will be at the party because she heard the previous years were fun.

She also said she is not to worried about safety issues because the party is on campus.

“With SIU, you know they’re going to have a lot of police out there so I don’t feel like nothing’s going to go wrong,” Norris said. “I feel like everybody will be civilized that day.”

Jade Tripplett, a freshman from Chicago studying psychology and nursing, said she will not be in attendance because she doesn’t know how safe it may be. 

“I don’t need to be in a big old room with thousands of people there, especially people from other schools that I don’t know,” Tripplett said. “It just may end up like the [Phi Beta Sigma] party, but you never know.”

At a party associated with the Phi Beta Sigma graduate fraternity in March, non-SIU students began shooting and 41-year-old Tim Beaty was killed

About the time of KAP’s suspension in 2012, the large-scale event policy approved by former Chancellor Rita Cheng singled out both Kappa Alpha Psi and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternities for their popular events held in the arena. The policy, which went into effect May 24, 2012, made it so the two fraternities’ largest venue option was the Student Center Ballrooms, limiting their capacity to 850.

This policy was put into effect to reduce the risk and liability for both the organizations and university, according to the document written by Peter Gitau, former associate vice chancellor and dean of students.

“As with any event held on campus, we also have high expectations of the guests who visit our campus in that they will be respectful of our students and our property so that traditions such as this can continue to thrive at the university,” Stettler said.

Gettis said in earlier years, the party was referred to as the “Unity Jam” because it was created as a way to bring people together, something they want to do with this year’s party.

“At that time there were some racial problems on campus, and the members back then wanted to create some type of outlet for students to meet and have a good time out time of that,” Gettis said. “We look at this as an escape or a means of finding a solution. People aren’t having fun now. … With this event we’re trying to have the best night that students have had in awhile.”

This party is part of a week of events the fraternity is hosting this month, inlcuding “Phat Like a Kappa,” a show where groups of girls will stroll and dance like members of the fraternity, “Kappa Klassic,” a fashion and variety show, and “Kappa Karnival,” a carnival held in the SIU Arena upper field.

Tickets for the event are being sold through the SIU ticket office for $30.

Tierra Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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