Daily Egyptian

Student representatives take action against events policy

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

A student senator is petitioning the university to reform its late night events policy, which he believes discriminates against black students, via an Undergraduate Student Government resolution.

Desmon Walker, a senior from Champaign studying marketing, introduced the resolution during the USG’s meeting on Nov. 10. It was sponsored by six other student senators and will be voted on when USG meets again in December.

“I’m not saying that this policy is racist, or that they’re out to target black students or black organizations, but at the same time, minority students depend on these organizations to pick up on their social interests,” Walker said. “I think it does discriminate, though.”

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Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lori Stettler said the original late night event policy was drafted so students could safely host university events.

“The late night event policy is for any type of late night event that’s held on campus, regardless of any group that’s hosting it,” Stettler said. “It’s not targeted to any group or organization.”

The current policy that was suggested by former Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Peter Gitau. It implemented by former Chancellor Rita Cheng in May 2012 limits student events to venues that have an 850-person occupancy maximum. It also reduced SIU students to one guest per event.

Gitau specifically references the university’s inability to properly manage the events “Players Ball” and “Miss Eboness After-Set,” which were held by Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi until an incident that occurred in 2012 at an event with more than 2,500 people. 

“There were over 20 individuals that were taken to Memorial Hospital because of excessive drinking [in 2012],” Stettler said, adding that only two of the people taken to the hospital were SIU students. “It’s typically not our students that are causing problems and not following policy.”

In the policy, Gitau mentioned an individual who was allegedly found with a handgun in University Housing during the same night of the event. Walker said he has yet to find evidence that the arrested individual actually attended the party, but he does not rule it out. 

“While the person was eventually arrested after the discovery of the weapon, the incident is an indicator of the type of crowds these events attract,” Gitau wrote.

Walker said students used to look forward to the events that stricter regulations make impractical to organize, and Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi representatives shouldn’t be held accountable for bad decisions a few people made three years ago.

“They were big traditions on campus,” Walker said.

University administrators sat down with Walker, USG President Kevin Gettis and Student Trustee Allen Shelton during the summer for input on how to rework the policy, Stettler said.

But Walker was not happy with the meeting’s outcome.

 “I was hopeful when the committee was formed over the summer that something would come of it, but, honestly, I don’t think they addressed it like they could have,” Walker said.

The newly drafted policy he saw is a “rearrangement of words,” Walker said. He said, however, that it does not directly name Alpha Phi Alpha or Kappa Alpha Psi like the original policy.

Stettler said the redrafted policy allows facilities to have more say in how events are conducted, and the draft circulating around campus has yet to be finalized.

Walker hopes USG will stand behind him and petition interim chancellor William Bradley Colwell to reform the late night events policy to restore what he believes is a lost tradition at SIUC.

“I think the events have been great for the campus,” Walker said. “While there may have been some issues, I don’t think it should overshadow the overall good of the events.”

Bill Lukitsch can be reached at 536-3329 or [email protected]

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