Few UAPD officers volunteer to work fraternity parties
Tonight's bid night for UA fraternities will be different than years past because of a shortage of university police officers volunteering to work security - which allows only one house to have a party.
On a night traditionally ripe for parties, Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol rules and few University of Arizona police officers willing to work will result in just one fraternity - Pi Kappa Alpha - being allowed to host a house party for bid night.
"This happened to us last semester," said Jake Saady, Pi Kappa Alpha's section chair for GAMMA. "It was very frustrating to have to move a party we had already planned. I think what the deal is, is that after last semester, when fewer police officers were available, the fraternities are starting to get used to it. But, it is very frustrating for those who can't hold their parties on campus."
Of course, a fraternity can throw a party on campus at its house without UAPD security, but GAMMA's rules won't allow alcohol at those parties.
UAPD Cmdr. Kevin Haywood said this problem isn't new, and it isn't designed as means of cracking down on fraternity alcohol parties.
"We are short-staffed right now, and we have problems getting officers to cover basketball games sometimes," Haywood said. "Fraternities call and ask for officers every week. We try to get (officers), but if we don't get, they don't get, and that is how it works."
For the fraternities, acquiring officers for a party is on a first-come, first-served basis. Pi Kappa Alpha had priority, and the house will be throwing a party tonight in conjunction with Phi Gamma Delta. A party of that size will require the services of all four officers on duty.
Haywood said other parties on the list, even if one officer signed up to work it, are stuck because at least two are needed to keep security.
Kathy Adams Riester, coordinator of Greek Life in the Student Programs department, agreed that security is the most important concern for officers.
"Police working fraternity parties here at UA is all about security," Adams Riester said. "About 10 years ago, a UA officer was shot and killed because someone who wasn't supposed to be at a party was trying to get in. Now we have officers at the door to stop things like that from happening.
"GAMMA student members made the rules, and they seem to work fairly well for them," she added. "It is simple, though. There just aren't enough officers who want to work tonight, and that is really all there is to it."
According to Saady, Adams Riester and Haywood, the point will be moot soon anyway as fraternities will only be permitted to have on-campus parties for homecoming beginning in the fall.
All other fraternity alcohol-related parties will be held off campus.
"We all know we'll be off campus next year, so I think this won't be much of an issue," Saady said. "It is just the fact that it is rush week and bid night. It is a big party time for everyone, and some people are definitely disappointed that there aren't enough officers."
Adams Riester said, if there is any dissension among fraternity and sorority members at UA, it is because the word just hasn't been passed all the way down.
"Cmdr. Haywood spoke to all the fraternity presidents and explained the situation," she said. "But I don't think everyone knows the exact situation yet."
Adams Riester added that GAMMA will redraw its policies this spring, and make any necessary changes.