Renee Romano, vice president for educational and student services, (319) 273-2331
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa ï¿½ Administrators, public safety officials and students at the University of Northern Iowa have devised a plan they hope will lead to a safe, enjoyable homecoming. UNI's homecoming activities run Monday, Sept. 30, through Saturday, Oct. 5.
Renee Romano, vice president for educational and student services at UNI, said the size and tenor of last year's celebration in the College Hill neighborhood that borders the university were the catalysts for the plan.
'We considered that situation to be potentially dangerous for students and visitors,' explained Romano.
She noted that while last year's event ended with an unusually high number of citations from the Cedar Falls Police Department, only a handful of those went to UNI students. 'This year, we want homecoming visitors to be aware that we are aggressively targeting anyone who displays negative behavior,' said Romano. 'We are asking UNI students to take leadership roles during the celebration, and we're reminding our visitors there are heavy penalties for illegal acts such as underage drinking and using fake identification to purchase alcohol.'
The plan focuses on safety issues, new city ordinances and coordinating the efforts of the university, city and community organizations. An information campaign includes a series of four posters to increase awareness of the consequences of negative or illegal behavior, a brochure that will be mailed to students and distributed in residence halls, and meetings with student and community organizations.
The brochure contains guidelines for parties, reminding hosts about city ordinances regarding noise and alcohol consumption; tips for celebrating safely within large crowds; and reminders that the fine for using fake identification to purchase/consume alcohol is $145, while the fine for supplying alcohol to minors can run as high as $1,500.
'We certainly don't want to inhibit the fun that typifies UNI's homecoming celebration,' Romano said. 'But we are going to be vigilant about safety.'