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Ohio University to charge residence hall guests during Halloween weekend

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 11, 2007) -- In order to offset the various costs associated with Halloween weekend in Athens, including providing additional security across campus, Ohio University will charge overnight guests in its residence halls during Halloween weekend a $25 fee beginning next fall.

"The university will use this fee to recover the expenses incurred to keep the campus community secure and its members safe during Halloween weekend," said Ohio University Vice President for Student Affairs Kent J. Smith Jr. "The university has a responsibility to put state taxpayers' public dollars to good use.  It seems wise for the university to put funds once used for Halloween expenses to uses that are more in line with the university's educational mission." 

Last fall, the university spent $91,443 on Halloween weekend with $38,686 of that being paid in overtime to classified employees providing extra security at and around residence halls.  In fall 2005, the university spent $85,351 on Halloween with $37,095 being paid to classified employees to provide extra security.

Last Halloween, the university pre-registered 3,363 guests in the residence halls and 2,426 guests actually came to campus.  In the past, the deadline to pre-register residence hall guests has been the Monday before the Athens Halloween party.

Smith provided the example that if 3,000 guests register for Halloween, $75,000 would be generated to off-set most of the expenses associated with securing the campus for Halloween.  He added that the university plans to reinvest 15 percent of the proceeds from the Halloween guest registration fee into student programming.

Before deciding to implement the fee, the Division of Student Affairs solicited the Residents' Action Council (tRAC) for feedback on the idea.  The organization supported the move to charge Halloween guests. 

"Overall, members of tRAC were in favor of the fee because it will make guests in the residence halls more accountable," said tRAC President Kevin Yurasek. "We believe that residence hall guests will likely behave better if charged a fee.

In order to fully implement the new fee, Smith will appoint a committee that will make recommendations to him by the end of winter quarter. Assistant Vice President and Interim Director of Residence Life Judy Piercy will chair the committee.  Other members of the committee will include two residence hall Council representatives, a member of the student group tRAC, a resident assistant, a security aide, a member of Student Senate, and a member of the residence life staff. 

"The university needs to continue to take measures to assure the safety of its students and guests during Halloween weekend," Piercy said. "This fee makes sense because it will help offset the cost of providing the continued need for security personnel around the residence halls during Halloween."

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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