Crowded streets prompt cancellation of Welcome Back Nights

At the recommendation of the university, the Interfraternity Council has advised chapters to cancel Welcome Back Nights events scheduled for Thursday night.

In a memo to the IFC executive board, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development recommended that fraternities rethink their plans to hold social events on Thursday.

“It has come to the attention of The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development that events during the period called ‘Welcome Back Nights’ have created an alarming concern for safety in the greek and university community,” the letter stated. “At the highest request of The Department of Public Safety and with consultation with Senior Administration, it is the expectation that any and all events occurring tonight on Thursday, January 14, 2010 be cancelled.”

Though the letter did not order that events be cancelled, Eric Ronan, president of IFC, said he strongly recommended that the houses follow the university’s advice.

“I advised them, because of the advice of DPS and the advice of the university, that they should follow the advice of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life,” Ronan said. “But it’s at their discretion.

Ronan said the recommendation from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development was prompted mainly because of the large number of non-USC students who attempted to attend the Welcome Back Nights events.

“Our fraternity policy is that only USC students are allowed to come to the events and unfortunately there were a lot of non-USC students trying to get in, and when they weren’t allowed that was what caused a lot of the congestion,” Ronan said.

Thursday’s Department of Public Safety incident log noted that DPS officers responded to several instances of large groups of people gathered outside of fraternity houses.

DPS Capt. David Carlisle said there were more than 2,000 people on The Row last night. Carlisle also noted that parties on weeknights are against university policy.

“Over the past couple of years there have been gentlemen’s agreements that if they’re inside the house and there’s nobody out drinking, and we can’t hear the music outside, we might have an agreement that that’s not a party.  But occasionally people become more lax and they turn into parties, like last night when there were more than 2,000 people.”

Ronan said he is not sure how non-USC students caught wind of the Welcome Back Nights events.

Carlisle said six parties were shutdown by DPS Wednesday night. He noted, however, that all the fraternities were cooperative.

Ronan added that there were no alcohol-related issues Wednesday night.

“The only real issue was the volume of people,” he said.

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