The Daily Illini

Private Certified Housing adopt different Unofficial policies

UI+students+pose+for+a+photo+in+Newman+Hall%27s+dining+hall.+
UI students pose for a photo in Newman Hall's dining hall.

UI students pose for a photo in Newman Hall's dining hall.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer LaMontagne

Photo courtesy of Jennifer LaMontagne

UI students pose for a photo in Newman Hall's dining hall.

By Elizabeth Sayasane, Staff writer

University Housing strengthens its regulations and policies during the weekend of Unofficial, but Private Certified Housing is left to handle Unofficial at their own discretion.

On Feb. 25, one week before the campus-wide event, University Housing sent an email to residents reminding them that there are no guests allowed from March 1 to March 4. It also requested that students carry their i-Card on them at all times to prove their student status at the University.

The PCH options have a variety of policies for the weekend.

The University YMCA has 12 male residents this year. Carol Nunn said in her 10 years of working at the YMCA, Unofficial has never caused any problem or greatly affected the residents to any degree.

She has never needed to take precautions and aside from the occasional drunks stumbling into the main lobby, it has never been an issue.

Becky Rowe is the Europa House assistant general manager and has worked for 23 years in student housing. Before taking up her position at Europa House eight months ago, Rowe was a vocal advocate for the termination of Unofficial.

“Any event that causes the death of a student or actually creates a death toll, so we have a three student death toll now for this event, that’s an event that shouldn’t happen,” Rowe said.

Rowe is referencing Caroline S. Yoon, Bradley Bunte and Jonathan Morales, students who died during Unofficial in years past. Rowe listed these names from memory.

Now that she works at Europa House, Rowe finds herself in an environment that remains relatively untouched by Unofficial.

Europa House sent an email to residents explaining guidelines for behavior for the weekend. Guests are not allowed without documented proof that the reason for their visit is unrelated to Unofficial. If a party occurs in the dorms or a noise complaint is made, the police will be called, whereas on a typical weekend, the RA would handle the situation.

Rowe is skeptical that any of these measures would need to be applied to the 76 students living in the house.

“For some, it can be a distraction, for others, it’s sort of like a carnival to be observed, but probably very few of them would actually participate,” Rowe said.

Hendrick House is considerably larger than the Europa House with 350 students. 

“We don’t have a whole lot of patience for (Unofficial),” Terrell Williams, CEO of Hendrick Dorms Inc., said.

At Hendrick House, they do not create or enforce new rules, except for their no-guest policy. Their method is to create alternative activities such as a “casino night,” or to have a specialty dinner offered. This way they hope to invite students to stay away from the party activities in a way that is more “redirection” than “putting down the hammer.”

Newman Center has a similar idea.

Beginning in the morning and going until late that evening, the residence hall is having a movie marathon. RAs will lead other activities like cookie decorating and a variety of games.

The building will be locked and the exterior doors will close earlier than normal. No guests are allowed during the Unofficial weekend. These specifications are outlined in floor meetings held prior to Friday.

RAs will be making more attentive rounds that day. If underage students are caught drinking, the alcohol will be poured down the drain, the situation will be documented and the Resident Director will follow up to determine the repercussions.

Newman is not a dry dorm: some of its residents are 21 or older, and are allowed to have a limited amount of alcohol in their rooms. It is not strictly a problem of alcohol. The issue that Tristan Pisarczyk, director of operations at Newman, finds is the attitudes of the day.

“Overall on campus, I see the effects of a lot of underage drinking, a lot of binge drinking, a lot of I would say dangerous behavior,” Pisarczyk said.

Newman Center makes it very clear what the expectations for their students are, and what the consequences will be if they are not met.

Bromley Hall, on the other hand, tries to treat it like a normal day. They take the policies set forth by the University and adapt them.

“We try to customize that, those policies and change it just a little bit to fit our facility a little better and our residents,” Travis Hill, general manager of Bromley, said.  

Residents are allowed to have one guest for the weekend, and security in and around the building is more attentive. Bromley acknowledges what is going on and is not naive to their student’s activities.

They do, however, try to keep an air of normalcy present on that day.

Nunn, alongside other PCH directors and managers, hopes that someday Unofficial will end.

“As a whole, I think it should be done with,” Nunn said. “Realistically I think it’s always going to continue.”

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