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Thursday, October 26, 2006
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University taking safety precautions during annual Halloween Street Festival

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 26, 2006) -- Ohio University is once again taking measures to ensure the safety of members of the university community and to protect the campus during the weekend of the Athens Halloween Street Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28.

"Although Ohio University does not sponsor or endorse the Athens Halloween Street Festival, we recognize that many of our students will take part in this event," President Roderick J. McDavis said. "As always, the university expects students to behave appropriately and to exercise good judgment. The bottom line is that we want students to have fun but to be safe and to exercise personal and civic responsibility this weekend."

There has been a decline in the number of Ohio University students who are arrested during the event. Of 95 individuals processed through the mass booking measures for the event in 2005, only six were Ohio University students. In 2004, only 18 of the 98 individuals processed by mass booking were Ohio University students.

"I am proud to say that the vast majority of Ohio University students are responsible members of the community who behave appropriately," McDavis said.

Ohio University student leaders have set a positive example with the "Party Smart" event sponsored by Student Senate on Monday, Oct. 23, which brought together students and Ohio University Police Department officers to emphasize the message of enjoying Halloween in a safe and responsible way.

The focus remains on ensuring the safety of members of the university community and securing the campus. Among steps the university is taking are:

Parking restrictions

To reduce the flow of visitors through campus, university parking lots are restricted to vehicles that display a valid university parking permit for the weekend. Cars without parking permits are subject to towing. Parking restrictions are in place from 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, to 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 29. Parking restrictions are listed online at www.facilities.ohiou.edu/parking/view.php?type=1&page=1&no=141

Residence hall restrictions

Each student living in a residence hall is allowed one guest, who must be registered with the residence hall. All guests are given wristbands, which must be worn to enter residence halls. Ohio University students can wear wristbands or display their university ID cards to gain entrance. Approximately 4,000 guests are registered for the weekend.

Safety measures

Officers from the Athens and Ohio University police departments will have an increased presence this weekend. OUPD officers will focus on the campus area and neighborhoods of high student population. Bike patrol officers from Lancaster will supplement OUPD's patrols.

Approximately 60 university administrators and faculty volunteers will patrol campus areas and student neighborhoods Saturday night as part of the "Green Jacket Patrol." About 80 classified staff members will work Friday and Saturday night to monitor entrances to residence halls.

Proactive communication measures

Besides the "Party Smart" event, the Department of Campus Life, through its Off-Campus Living Office, has been visiting door-to-door with student residents in off-campus neighborhoods of high student population. Members of Student Senate are providing much of the manpower.

The effort is designed to remind students of their rights and responsibilities as students, tenants and members of the local community.

The emphasis is on responsibilities regarding guests, including the residents' responsibilities for their guests' actions and how to prevent unwanted visitors in students' houses.

A total of 10,000 fliers are being distributed throughout the university and community that offer suggestions for safety, alternate activities and how to cooperate with law enforcement officers.

The university has sent letters to the parents of all students and email messages to all students, urging their cooperation and promoting civic responsibility.

Alternative events

As is the case each weekend, the university plans a slate of social events, such as dances, athletic events, Midnight Movies at the Athena theater, Open Stage in the Baker Center Front Room and Game Night in the Baker Center rec room.

The university expects to spend more than $90,000 in labor, material and supplies for the weekend.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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