Polar Bear guests left out in the cold

By Jessica Brown

Fewer people may participate at Polar Bear—an annual drinking event—this year thanks to a new university policy.

Non-University Housing visitors will not be granted access to residence halls or Wall and Grand Apartments from 12 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Sunday.

The recent no-guest policy has been adopted because of past experiences with visitor conduct during Polar Bear–hosted by Pinch Penny Pub from 10 a.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday–and similar events, said Jon L. Shaffer, director of University Housing.

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“The inappropriate behavior we find detrimental to our campus community is disproportionately that of non-SIU students,” Shaffer wrote in an email.

This is not the first time a ban on visitors has been in place. University spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said this preventative action has been taken during Halloween in previous years.

Jonnel Allen, a freshman from Chicago studying cinema, said he understands why the ban is in place. He said most of the trouble on campus comes from visiting non-students.

“I can’t really blame them for doing this because it does get kind of crazy,” he said. “Like unofficial, flipping cars and stuff. … People came from out of town to do that.”

Other students disagree.

Robert Simpson, a freshman from Chicago studying English, said he does not think visitors are the problem.

“It’s not going to cause too much harm to bring a couple extra people in,” Simpson said. “They need to take proper precautions, but I don’t think keeping other people out of the campus is the way to do that.”

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Shaffer said this sort of restriction is common in preparation for such events at other universities.

Crystal Bouhl, assistant director of marketing for University Housing, said the university does not plan on taking additional measures to enforce the ban.

“Guests are required to sign in at front desks,” she said. “In buildings without front desks, students are expected to comply. Residence Hall staff are on duty as usual and will ask non-residents to leave.”

Gabby Griggs, a freshman from Steel, Mo., studying radio and television, is skeptical of how strictly housing will implement the temporary rule.

“I don’t think it’s going to have any impact,” Griggs said. “If people want to have guests, they’re still going to have guests.”

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