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Monday, October 25, 2004
 
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City of Athens, Ohio University continue efforts to emphasize personal, civic responsibility

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 25, 2004) -- The City of Athens and Ohio University continue to work cooperatively to deliver educational and informational programs that stress civic responsibility in advance of the annual Athens Halloween Street Party the weekend of Saturday, Oct. 30.

The efforts are in place to meet the challenges presented by unacceptable behaviors that have plagued the event in past years.

"In collaboration with our colleagues at the City of Athens, we have spent much time and effort working with individuals across campus to educate students about the importance of taking responsibility for their behavior and that of their guests," said Ohio University President Roderick McDavis. "I cannot stress strongly enough that, as a university, we are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent the unfortunate actions of some individuals that tarnish the reputation of this wonderful community and great university."

Since Oct. 18, members of Student Senate and the staff of the Office of Off-Campus Living have visited student off-campus residences to remind student-residents of their rights and responsibilities, the consequences of unlawful behavior and whom to contact should a problem arise. Assisting with the effort have been student-members of POWER (Promoting Ohio University Wellness Education Responsibility) and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

As was done prior to time-change weekend last spring, letters were recently sent to the parents of Ohio University students to ask their cooperation in emphasizing these same messages to students.

"We are pursuing every imaginable avenue of communication with the clear, uncompromising message that unruly behavior will not be tolerated. As I've said many times before, a diploma from Ohio University is too valuable to have it tarnished by the type of behavior that, as a university community, we abhor," McDavis said.

The Off-Campus Living office, which opened Oct. 1, is an outcome of recommendations put forth by the Task Force on Civic Responsibility. The office is designed to educate students about the civic responsibilities associated with neighborhood living.

Members of the task force, a joint city-university effort, began meeting in March to develop short-term and long-term approaches to limit the difficulties that have arisen from Halloween and other events and to design educational approaches to inform students of their civic responsibilities when they move off-campus and into Athens neighborhoods.

Once again, the university expects to spend more than $90,000 in labor, material, supplies and other costs to ensure the safety of the campus and its residents during the weekend of the street party. Following are additional steps being taken by the university.

PERSONAL SAFETY

There will be a large number of visitors to our community who are not familiar with local streets, and community members are urged to be especially careful to stay on the sidewalks and be alert while crossing the streets. Many people will be in costume, and for some, they may use this anonymity to take advantage of others. Excessive alcohol impairs one judgment and could create a situation where they become vulnerable and more likely to be a victim of a crime.

Members of POWER will present "Less Trick, More Treat," an informational program to provide their fellow students with tips on how to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween weekend, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26.

In preparation for the weekend, university police department personnel are conducting more than 20 training sessions with members of several athletic teams, residence hall groups, freshman introductory class members and other campus groups on personal safety and illegal activities to avoid during Halloween weekend.

CAMPUS SAFETY

The Ohio University Police Department will receive some assistance from bike officers from the Lancaster Police Department. The university's police department will have 24 officers out at various times throughout the night. The department's focus will be to ensure the safety of our students and staff and the protection of university property. University police will provide assistance to the Athens Police Department as requested and continue with the collaborative efforts in student residential areas.

Staff employees and volunteers include about 80 classified staff employees who will work Friday and Saturday night and approximately 60 administrators who have volunteered to work Saturday.

PARKING

To reduce the flow of out-of-town visitors through campus, university parking lots will be restricted to only vehicles that display a valid Ohio University parking permit. Students, faculty, staff and visitors must display a valid parking permit to park on campus. Any vehicle that is parked on campus and does not display a valid permit will be towed at the owner's expense. Parking will be strictly enforced beginning at 3 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Sunday.

Also, most campus parking lots will be limited to one entrance/exit. Parking for out-of-town visitors will be available at the Athens County fairgrounds, the city parking garage and at other locations throughout the city for a fee.

Campus Halloween parking regulations are available online at www.facilities.ohiou.edu/parking/index.php?tbname=events.  

RESIDENCE LIFE

Each student living in a residence hall is allowed one guest, who must be registered with the residence hall staff. All guests will be given wristbands, which must be worn to enter residence halls. Ohio University students have the choice of wearing the wristband or showing their student ID cards. Residents are responsible for the actions of their guests, which includes any damage they may cause.

Last year 4,417 guests were pre-registered, and 3,329 guests actually arrived for the weekend. There are 7,500 Ohio University students living in the 41 residence halls on campus.

ALTERNATIVE EVENTS

For those who aren't fond of crowds, the university is planning a slate of social events for the weekend to offer students alternatives to the Halloween street party. A listing of some events follows:

Friday, Oct. 29

  • "The Laramie Project," Kantner Hall Baker Theater, 8 p.m.
  • Game Night, Baker University Center Rec Room, 9 p.m. - 1 a.m.
  • Open Stage, Baker University Center Front Room, 8 p.m. - Midnight
  • Capitol Steps comedy troupe, Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, 8 p.m.
  • Late Night Poker, Baker University Center Corner Room Café, 11 p.m. - 2 a.m.
  • "Pearl Jam" Dance, Baker University Center Ballroom, 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.; sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority
  • Midnight Movie, "Legally Blonde," The Athena Cinema; sponsored by University Program Council

Saturday, Oct. 30

  • Ohio University women's volleyball vs. Western Michigan, Convocation Center, 7 p.m.
  • "The Laramie Project," Kantner Hall Baker Theater, 8 p.m.
  • Game Night, Baker University Center Rec Room, 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
  • "Skull Busters" coffee house concerts, Baker University Center Front Rom, 9 p.m.
  • Kappa Kostume Jump-Off Dance, Baker University Center Ballroom, 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.; sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity
  • "Halloween Havoc" recreational ice skate, Bird Ice Arena, 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.
  • After Hours, free food, drinks, karaoke and cornhole, Baker University Center Front Room, Midnight - 3 a.m.
  • Midnight Movie, "Legally Blonde," The Athena Cinema; sponsored by University Program Council

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Media Contacts: Coordinator of University Halloween Preparedness Dale Tampke, (740) 593-2475, or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or pager: (740) 290-4479

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