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COR: Group addresses game day arrests

John Tierney | Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Council of Representatives (COR) decided that education is the key for students looking to secure their rights in dealing with police and ushers on football weekends at its meeting Tuesday.

Student Body President Bob Reish opened the floor for COR members to give their advice on how he should approach meetings with the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Campus Safety, Security, and Hospitality Protocols and Practices for Football Gamedays, which was convened by University President Fr. John Jenkins.

Reish has been selected as the student representative for the committee.

COR members expressed a general feeling that there is a lack of information on what the rules are and that there are major differences in how rules are enforced by individual ushers and at different games.

“There’s a lack of information regarding the law,” student body vice president Grant Schmidt said. “That’s a very tangible role for us to fill by informing them what is legitimate and what is not.”

Schmidt said there are two issues in regard to law enforcement before the football games when students enter the stadium and when they are at tailgates in parking lots.

Sophomore class president Cynthia Weber said that information is critical. She also suggests including alcohol related policies in the dissemination of information to students.

“Students don’t know exactly what the rules are off-campus and on-campus,” she said. She attributed this general ignorance to the fact that most students are not from the Michiana area.

“We need to cause understanding because there’s a lot of misunderstanding,” Weber said.

COR advisor Amy Geist agreed that information is important, but said student government must be careful in how they disseminate information to students.

“You don’t want to present it as you’re the authority of everything in the spectrum,” she said.

She also cautioned students about the ramifications of alumni withholding donations because they are upset about alcohol-related arrests.

“Think about your experience as a student and as an alum as being greater than football,” Geist said.

COR also discussed the newly-formed Off-Campus Safety Committee, which will be chaired by Off-Campus President Billy Lyman.

“We need to show students that we are dealing with this problem,” he said. “Show them that we are dealing with it immediately, and we are dealing with it tangibly.”

Lyman said that the committee hopes to find ways to better inform students about safety concerns. He hopes to establish an off-campus listserv and schedule events with the South Bend Police that will inform students on how to stay safe off-campus.

Lyman also hopes to establish a database that will track student safety incidents and the police response with these incidents.

“This database is an immediate solution but we’re going to keep it going all year and it will help us figure out long term solutions,” Lyman said. “As long as we keep it going, it will definitely help.”

The committee’s first meeting will occur Wednesday.