A Wednesday meeting with Yale Police Department officials has led Greek leaders to feel more comfortable with plans for enforcement of the new off-campus party registration requirement.
Since administrators announced last month that students must register all off-campus parties with over 50 attendees, student leaders have had mixed responses to the new rule, with several expressing concerns that it disproportionately affects Greek organizations. Last week, Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins invited Greek leaders and two members of the Yale College Council executive board to a dinner meeting with three other Yale Police officials to discuss the rule. During the meeting, which was closed to the press, attendees talked about ways in which Greek organizations can work with the Yale Police Department to increase student safety and establish open communication, said Cooper Godfrey ’14, president of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
“They assuaged our concerns that the purpose of their job isn’t to arrest us,” said Ben Singleton ’13, an attendee and former president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. “We at least are now developing a working relationship, and it relieves everyone’s fears.”
Higgins said the plan for enforcement will incorporate the YPD’s community policing model — which emphasizes the relationship between citizens and officers — and “sorority and fraternity houses make up a significant amount of Yale College’s off-campus community.” As the department enforces the new rule, he said, it will focus on ensuring the safety of students.
At the meeting, fraternity and sorority leaders explained that typical Yale parties are a “more controlled environment than the administration thinks they are,” Singleton said, adding that Greek leaders agreed to more actively require identification at the door and restrict alcohol distribution to prearranged areas within a house. Meanwhile, officers presented a plan to send patrolling officers to meet with party hosts ahead of time to discuss what the party will entail and provide a point of contact to keep dialogue open throughout the night of the party, he said.
The group plans to meet again in the coming weeks, said Will Kirkland ’14, president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, adding that he thought the dinner was a “helpful first step.”
During the meeting, Higgins also asked Greek leaders for input on how to uphold the new tailgate regulations while encouraging participation in tailgates, Singleton said. He added that he felt as though Greek leaders were included in a “constructive” discussion, and that their ideas were heard and would be seriously discussed by police. In contrast, he said, he felt that fraternity leaders have recently been “taken out of the discussion” by administrators when they issued the new registration rule.
YCC President John Gonzalez ’14, who attended the meeting along with YCC Vice President Debby Abramov ’14, said he thought the meeting was productive in starting a conversation, but he is hoping to facilitate a new discussion between Greek leaders and administrators to address further concerns, such as the Yale College Executive Committee’s protocol for dealing with violators of the rule.
During this year’s Camp Yale, the Yale College Dean’s Office received between 10 and 15 party registrations, according to Associate Dean for Student Organizations and Physical Resources John Meeske.