CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois Police’s “party patrol” will be hitting the streets as students return to campus for the new semester.
Officers said their party patrol “is a group of Student Patrol officers and police officers who have been specially assigned to respond to calls of parties in the Campustown area. They are responsible for making sure campus community members’ social gatherings are in compliance with public health regulations and campus mandates.”
Last week, UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones said students were expected to engage in only essential activities until February 8. Those students who fail to follow all COVID-related expectations would face university disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Also, officials said that during the fall, both the cities of Champaign and Urbana issued emergency orders limiting social gatherings to 10 or fewer. They stated those orders are still in place. “Party hosts who violate those ordinances are subject to fines.
Officials stated student patrol officers responded to dozens of party complaints during the fall semester. “Almost all of the time, a request from a Student Patrol officer to a party host to reduce the size of the party to be in compliance with health guidelines is sufficient to remedy the situation.”
“The vast majority of our students want to do the right thing, but a few maybe need a little nudge in the right direction. That’s what Student Patrol does,” said U of I Police Chief Alice Cary. “It’s rare, but if someone absolutely refuses to comply voluntarily, that’s when our police officers will arrive to address the situation.”
Officers stated a very small amount of parties in Campustown in the fall semester were either too large or the host refused to comply with health codes. “Those hosts were liable to receive citations for hosting a nuisance party, endangering public health or reckless conduct. If hosts received all three citations–which happened in a handful of the more egregious cases–fines were in excess of $1,300 per individual.”
During the fall semester, UIPD officers said they issued 30 tickets to 18 people for party-related health violations.