By Laura Ingalls
Arizona Daily Wildcat
t is a common place for alcohol offenders to see the first night
of campus parties from the backseat of a squad car.
But for a Wildcat reporter and photographer riding around with one of the approximately 50 police on duty, the unique perspective was sobering.
“They’re not very smart tonight. If you want a good picture just sit on a curb and watch people with drinks walk by,” said a bicycle officer who stopped to chat with deputy chief Harry Hueston II and his reporter captives.
Overall, 21 people were arrested Friday for alcohol-related offenses on campus. However, this weekend was tame compared with the first night last year, Hueston said.
Last year there were people wandering campus carrying around cases of beer, Hueston said. However, parties this year abruptly ended at 1 a.m. Saturday morning, surprising Hueston with an uncharacteristically short night on “party patrol.”
An increase in alcohol education programs sponsored by GAMMA, Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol, an internal regulation group of Greek members, could be behind the relatively docile weekend, said Hueston and Dan Maxwell, interim director of student programs.
Greek organizations are required by GAMMA to follow certain party guidelines, including providing security, food and non-alcoholic beverages and safe ride options, GAMMA chairman Matt Shaheen said. Each Greek chapter is also encouraged to have a GAMMA member, though specific chapter members do not monitor their own parties.
“It allows us to be responsible for each other,” said Shaheen, who once organized parties as a fraternity social director. “That’s a big thing at these parties.”
“People complain about regulations but the overall idea is to keep our liability safe,” said Matt Gore, president of Delta Chi fraternity.
“We can still have good times and protect ourselves,” Gore said, as partygoers danced and drank to the Village People’s “YMCA.”
As chapter president, Gore and other fraternity leaders are personally responsible for what goes on at their functions, Maxwell said. If things get ~jump~ out of hand, the president would be the one answering to the Greek Judicial Board and the chapter’s national headquarters, said Maxwell, who rode with Hueston Friday night.
Hueston did get to see some campus night life before returning to the police station.
“At this one party they were passing Keystone like we would drink water,” he said.
Beer flowed freely at the gatherings, prompting Hueston to joke that Keystone beer had a wholesale deal with the fraternities. Partygoers didn’t seem to mind as they yelled at each other over the thumping music.
A freshman was kicked out of Delta Tau Delta for pouring beer on a woman Friday, said Bob Bennen, member and ex-social director of the fraternity.
“I’m worried about things getting out of hand, people going home [without rides],” Bennen said.
Security at the Delta Tau Delta was stiff at the door, with two hired security guards checking identification cards. One guard said he has seen drinking taken to new heights in his two years working university parties for A-Team Security.
“They drink to the point where they’re so smashed some folks have to literally carry them out drunk. It’s a trip,” security officer André Peterson said.
New social chairmen, usually selected each semester, are the biggest challenge Maxwell and GAMMA face in maintaining party standards. Some fraternities have officer transition programs, but for the most part, each semester is a new slate, Maxwell said.
However, despite the on-site police, security and routine GAMMA checks, some bartenders were obviously shaken when an already intoxicated minor would approach the bar when Hueston was around.
One bartender told an adamant couple, who had no hand stamps signifying they were of legal drinking age, that Hueston was cracking down on the bar. The couple spotted Hueston and decided to take another turn on the dance floor.
Another bar was so poorly lit with colored lights, bartenders could barely discern their own features, let alone a drivers’ license, Hueston said.
Police seemed to be on every corner, prompting partygoers to comment on whether police were being more intrusive than in previous years. James Potter, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said he thought the fatal shooting of UAPD Officer Kevin Barleycorn at a fraternity party several years ago prompted police to crack down on parties.
“I see police officers being a lot more intrusive and walking around more. I guess their presence is seen as more visible.”
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