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ISSUE 118 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/22/2004

Off campus restraint needed: Reconsider attendance, behavior at house parties

By Jason Hendricks
Contributing Writer


Friday, October 22, 2004

Those of you who have been attending the house parties this fall that off-campus students have been hosting may have noticed that they consistently get overcrowded and end prematurely when the police are called to break up the party.

Although it is not an issue to those who show up to the parties, as the Northfield police have traditionally been lenient by not giving out underage drinking citations, and just letting the crowd disperse, those students who choose to host the parties potentially have more serious repercussions.

The College has recently made us aware that the police and neighbors are growing increasingly agitated with the noise levels and amount of underage alcohol consumption that has been occurring at these parties.

Through an e-mail sent out by Dean Greg Kneser, the administration outlined that as house members, we are held accountable for the actions of all our guests, including any citations or other legal penalties from the city of Northfield.

This includes guests not personally invited, who instead show up because they heard there was a party.

Furthermore, the St. Olaf Code of Conduct gives the College authority to discipline students for any legal violations that occur off-campus.

The College has notified us that those students who are cited by police as a result of hosting a large party will be subject to a five-day suspension.

This means that during the suspension we could not attend class or participate in any co-curricular activities, including athletics.

Needless to say, this is a punishment that none of us wish to be receive.

Lately, off-campus students have gone to increased lengths to restrict party guests to those of legal drinking age and friends of the house members.

These are our private residences, and once they become congested with people who are more or less strangers to us, the chances of valuables getting broken or stolen increases, while the ability for us to maintain order and a proper noise level is greatly diminished.

Not only are we concerned with sanctions that could be laid down upon us, but also the well-being of our personal property.

We know that the vast majority of students come to our houses with good intentions and the worst case scenarios are always unlikely to happen, but they have happened in previous years and the risk will always remain.

The fact that we enjoy hosting a lively party and providing an entertaining environment for students to meet new people and have fun makes this all the more difficult to say.

Students know that we have been told by the College that if you are going to drink, do so off campus, but the truth is that student houses are not intended to be drinking havens for the entire student body.

They simply cannot handle the influx of people that we have experienced this year.

The police will continue to come and break up the parties, which is no fun for anyone. This is why we urge you to reconsider showing up to a house in which you do not know the residents, merely because you heard there were kegs.

I thank you for taking the time to listen to these concerns and hope that you are able to find enjoyable weekend alternatives to off-campus house parties.


Jason Hendricks is the Off-Campus Senator. He is a senior from Manitowoc, Wis. He majors in biology and environmental studies.


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