Despite cold weather and new changes to the Student Conduct Code concerning off-campus partying and alcohol violations, Temple Police was still active this past weekend, breaking up 10 loud and overcrowded parties.
“We were very busy Friday night into Saturday,” said Charlie Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services. “I was a little surprised, but we had plenty of resources out there because we just don’t know [what could happen].”
Leone said he met with Dean of Students Stephanie Ives and her team Monday to discuss the parties that were broken up, and apply changes in the Student Conduct Code to the incidents.
Ives told The Temple News last week that the changes stemmed from discussions among university officials on Campus Health Assessment Response Task Force, or CHART, from the fall semester into this spring.
The task force of about 25 people—including representatives from Temple Police, Tuttleman Counseling Services, the Dean of Students Office, Housing and Residential Life, university counsel and Temple Student Government—were all part of discussing the changes, Ives added.
Ives said the changes to the code are due to an increase in students living off-campus, along with the report completed by President Theobald’s Presidential Committee on Sexual Misconduct.
“When the President put together that sexual misconduct task force and he received the recommendations, he said, ‘You know what, we have to look at alcohol as part of this picture,’” she said.
One of the most significant changes to the code is steeper fines for multiple alcohol citations: $750 for a second offense, and $1,000 for the third—including suspension or expulsion from the university. The money from these fines is used for education and events about off-campus partying and sexual misconduct, Ives said.
In 2014-15, 12 percent of students who violated the alcohol policy were repeat offenders, she said.
“It was really kind of an effort to say, ‘Look, we have to get your attention somehow,’” Ives said of the new fines. “You have to change your behaviors and you’re not. Maybe this will motivate you to do so.”
A “community support team” of graduate students chosen by Temple Police patrolled the streets this past weekend, identifying potential problem parties west of Main Campus.
Leone said his department has taken team members on ride-alongs the past couple of weeks, showing them where parties typically occur off-campus, and will provide feedback based on what activity they may have missed.
The state’s Liquor Control Board has also sent representatives to help break up parties and issue alcohol citations. Leone said the LCB will work with Philadelphia Police and the university to further reduce issues that may arise on weekends.
Concerning the recent changes, Ives said the proposed on-campus stadium “never came up” during discussions within CHART. They are being implemented now because of the warmer weather, she added.
“We see a very different party environment in spring,” she said. “As graduation approaches and people finish up with papers and exams, it’s a different animal out there with this level of partying.”
A new stipulation of the policy is that students who are on the lease or live at “party houses” can be fined up to $1,500 each. Ives said the university will thoroughly investigate each case, and that students in these houses are typically cooperative with identifying those who were not at the party.
“You do not want to be in the situation where you are fining people who may not have been in the country at the time,” she said with a laugh.
During the past couple of months, several community members have told The Temple News that some students aren’t good neighbors. Ives believes that alcohol plays a significant part in changing students’ behavior, and hopes the new initiatives will help change that mindset.
“I think you become a poor community member when you are intoxicated,” she said. “You just stop caring. You start feeling entitled to have your blow-out bash with a thousand people whose names you don’t know, and that’s not an entitlement. Even though students, during the day, may be very respectful of the community … sometimes, when alcohol interferes, they forget.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.