New policy aim: Make campus dances safer

Sign-in sheets, metal detectors and guest limits will greet party-goers attending dances on campus this semester. After a rumor of someone carrying a gun to a fraternity and sorority dance last November, Northern Kentucky University put a hold on all on-campus dances until safer regulations could be drafted. While no gun was found at the party, Steve Meier, assistant dean of students, who worked on drafting of the new policy, said the scare was enough to cause change.

“The potential of what could’ve happened at the last dance really brought awareness,” Meier said.

Four changes were made to better ensure the safety of the students attending parties on campus: Sign-in sheets, metal detectors, a police officer identification card check and a limit of five guests per NKU student. In creating the new guidelines, Meier said they compared them to similar policies at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville which also use metal detectors and limits the amount of guest to one and three people per student respectively.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council, which oversees black Greek organizations, who hold the bulk of the dances on-campus, also worked on the new regulations.Latoya Chambers, the president of NPHC, said she supports the new policies. “There is always a possibility of a party getting out of hand, and there should be some enforcement,” Chambers said. Chambers said since dances are the primary way for black organizations to raise money, there should be a way to make it safe.

Meier said the guidelines are a preventative measure rather than as a result of a reoccurring problem. The Department of Public Safety assistant director Lt. Col. Jeff Martin said that on-campus parties usually stay under control.

“We haven’t had huge problems, but we have had some problems, and we don’t want them to escalate,” Martin said.

Martin cites incidents where drinking occasionally leads to fights breaking out.

“They’re the typical kind of things when you have that many people in one place,” Martin said.

President of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Danielle Toliver said students from other schools usually cause most of the disruption. While most dances have no problems, she said there is still a need for guidelines.

“Some of the dances go smoothly and some don’t,” Toliver said.

The new guidelines will allow students to have a better, more relaxed time at dances, said Crystal Smith, president of Delta Sigma Theta. She said, however, if any more restrictions are added to the guidelines, African-American parties on campus will begin to decline, and people will be discouraged. “If they change the guidelines any more, it will kill parties,” Smith said.

Prior to the new guidelines, the only restrictions for parties on-campus were that they don’t exceed 200 people and that the student organization check IDs.

Dean of Students Kent Kelso said there needed to be a way to make people at the party accountable for their own actions.

“There has really been no significant guidelines put in place to maintain any security of who is at these events and (how to) be able to track that,” Kelso said.