The Guardian Angels are coming to Rutgers University.
A group of fraternity brothers at the main campus in New Brunswick invited the New York-based volunteer crime fighters to start a chapter at the school.
The invitation, made by Alpha Sigma Phi, was in response to a perception of growing rowdiness and crime on campus that peaked with a violent brawl outside another fraternity house last month that left two students critically injured, said Arnaldo Salinas, an organizer for the Guardian Angels.
The early morning fight at the Squam fraternity, which is across College Avenue from Alpha Sigma Phi, was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Ziggy Orlowski, property manager for Alpha Sigma Phi.
Orlowski said concern over street violence and a number of other crimes on and around the campus in the last several months led his group to call for help from the organization founded by radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Orlowski said the group will start patrols on Thursday nights, a big party night on campus.
“We’ll have patrols on campus to deal with problems of boozing up,” said Sliwa.
The Angels, with their signature red berets, provide unarmed community safety patrols made up of residents. In its 25 years, it has branched out beyond its urban roots.
“All of a sudden there’s a huge call for Guardian Angels, not just in the inner cities, but on campuses and the suburbs,” Salinas said. “People are scared, they feel they have no power.”
Sliwa said chapters have operated in the past at Ohio State University, Northwestern, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and Syracuse University. Salinas said chapters are being organized at Drexel and Pace universities.
The group typically works in tandem with local police. Rutgers Police Chief Barry Roberson declined to comment Friday, saying he had just learned that the group may be coming to campus.
Lt. John O’Neal of the campus police said neither the Angels nor the fraternity brothers had been in contact with police about their plans. O’Neal said the university already uses hundreds of students as community safety officers to augment campus and city police on the sprawling campus.
“There is a network there, there is accountability and training,” O’Neal said.
Alpha Sigma Phi is one of the smallest fraternity groups on campus, with just eight official members, said JoAnn Arnholt, dean of fraternity and sorority affairs. They are a colony, meaning they have not met the charter requirements set out by their national chapter. The group was suspended from the national group in 1998 following a hazing incident involving alcohol. None of the current members was involved.
Orlowski, who said he will be among those patrolling on Thursday nights, said the group is up to 14 members.
“It’s a safety-in-numbers thing,” he said of the Angels. He said the group’s independence will be an asset in providing more safety on campus.
Orlowski said he did not know the fraternity brothers from Squam who were injured last month.
The Angels will be at the Alpha Sigma Phi house Thursday night to begin organizing the chapter, Salinas said. Recruits will be trained in self-defense and safety issues over a number of weeks, but will begin patrolling Thursday with the help of the New York City chapter, organizers said.
(c) 2003, The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
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