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UNI expands plans for safe homecoming celebration

October 2, 2003

Renee Romano, vice president for educational and student services, (319) 273-2331
Tom Romanin, associate vice president for educational and student services, (319) 273-2332
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Encouraged by student response last year, administrators, Public Safety officials and students at the University of Northern Iowa have expanded their efforts to ensure that homecoming weekend is a safe one for students and their guests. UNI's homecoming weekend is Friday-Sunday, Oct. 10-12.

''Celebrate Safely' is a joint university-community campaign based on the input of students, business and community leaders, and people who live near the university. The campaign emphasizes awareness and enforcement of existing laws, the importance of maintaining quality housing in neighborhoods, and holding people responsible for their actions,' said Renee Romano, vice president for educational and student services.

Students living in Cedar Falls, both on and off campus, have been mailed brochures that explain bootlegging (selling alcohol without a license), crowd safety, Iowa's drunk-driving laws, and penalties for other infractions like using fake identification to purchase alcohol. 'The brochure is particularly beneficial for students who have not confronted some of these situations prior to homecoming before, and are not sure about what they can and can't do,' Romano explained.

This year, with the assistance of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the Celebrate Safely campaign was expanded to include property owners, landlords and apartment managers. Personal letters were sent to 144 landlords/managers and 175 property owners, providing direction on how to contact the police if they observe illegal or potentially dangerous activities. Suggestions were made for inspecting balconies and posting load limits, restricting the use of parking areas to residents and guests, and considering the employment of private security guards, if necessary.

Law enforcement agencies in bordering cities and counties, and the Iowa State Patrol, have been notified there could be an increased number of persons traveling through their jurisdictions who may have been drinking.

'The goal is not to inhibit the ability of persons to have a good time,' Romano said. 'But we are going to be diligent when it comes to personal safety and respect for the law and university regulations.'