Friday, December 01, 2000

Ohio State might hire off-duty police for off-campus parties

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Ohio State University officials said they are seriously considering a suggestion that the school provide the money to hire off-duty police to provide security at off-campus drinking parties.

        Misbehavior by mobs of students and others at some parties in houses near the campus — particularly after Ohio State football games — has become a problem for the university.

        Student Body President Robert Schuerger this week forwarded a request to university officials asking for $15,000 to pay for police officers and an additional $34,000 for two new vans to transport students around the campus area.

        “I've talked to a lot of hosts of parties who said if they'd had the money, they would have hired an off-duty officer,” Mr. Schuerger said. “It helps the host of the party take some responsibility and take control of the party.”

        OSU Provost Ed Ray said money may be available for the police officers and vans from a fund the university earmarked for improving the neighborhoods surrounding campus under its Campus Partners plan.

        The money hasn't been used because residents of the University District must first approve creation of the Special Improvement District plan.

        “We care very much about the safety of and the kinds of conditions our students live in. The Campus Partners project is about wanting to revitalize the area ... which is an area that's declined in quality and safety over the years,” Mr. Ray said.

        The amount of money OSU set aside for the improvement district is between $100,000 and $200,000, Mr. Ray said.

        Following Ohio State's football loss to Michigan on Nov. 18, a huge party turned into a melee in which one student was stabbed and more than 100 fires were set. Thirty-four people were arrested, including 11 students.

        The students, who are being individually interviewed by the university this week, were temporarily suspended and could face expulsion. No decisions have been made, said William Hall, interim vice president for student affairs.

        Ron Meyers, president of OSU's Council of Graduate Students, who was instrumental in starting student-run block watches in the off-campus area, said he would like to organize a “party patrol.”

        The patrol would be made up of students who would be considered a neutral group that could be called when a party starts to get out of hand.


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