Differences persist in busts of greek, nongreek parties

Elizabeth Cook

A house party near 16th Avenue Southeast and Hennepin Avenue with more than 100 guests was busted by police about three weeks ago.

Brady Lillie, a sophomore at McNally Smith College of Music, was outside when police showed up and made him and his two University roommates shut down their party.

Lillie said fraternities have parties, but they don’t seem to get in trouble with the police.

“They never get busted and we get fines,” Lillie said.

According to Minneapolis Police Department statistics, there have been 67 party complaints since August 2004 in the 2nd Precinct, which includes Fraternity Row; four were fraternity parties.

The police told Lillie that neighbors had called and complained, he said.

“I think they were just looking for parties to bust,” Lillie said.

Lillie ended up getting arrested, everyone else at the party had to go home and police took the tap to their keg.

Minneapolis police spokesman Ron Reier said a party after 10 p.m. with more than one person constitutes noise.

If police get a call and go to the house, they have the power to shut down the party, Reier said.

In Minneapolis, police respond to approximately 400,000 911 calls each year. Because of that workload, police aren’t typically going out and looking for crime, Reier said, and that is why police don’t check every fraternity house to see if everyone drinking alcohol is of age.

If police are driving down the road and see 30 people outside a house, they will let other officers know, Reier said. Many times, just the presence of the police vehicles will quiet a party.

When police go to any type of party, they will find the person responsible for the party and tell them it needs to be shut down, Reier said.

University Police Department Lt. Charles Miner said Fraternity Row is in the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Miner said the reason more house parties get shut down than fraternity parties is because neighborhood residents in the nonfraternity areas complain.

A few problems that result from parties are noise, littering, public urination and traffic problems, Miner said.

These are magnets that draw police, Miner said. Police don’t get those kinds of calls for fraternities.

Miner also said that many times when fraternities have large parties they call their own private security to keep everybody safe.

Some of the houses are even alcohol-free, Miner said.

All sororities on campus are “dry,” or alcohol-free.

One reason for this is that insurance is cheaper, said Abby Weinandt, president of the Panhellenic Council.

A sorority is about ritual and tradition, not alcohol, Weinandt said.

University Interfraternity Council President Brian Brothman said there is nothing formally set up with police so fraternity parties won’t get busted.

If there is a complaint, police give the fraternities a little more autonomy, Brothman said. They’ll let the fraternity leaders shut it down before they step in.

The police also give the IFC input if problems arise.

If there are serious issues with a house, the police would either call the IFC or that specific chapter’s president, Brothman said.

There are rules that fraternities are supposed to be following when they have parties, said Chad Ellsworth, a student activities adviser.

Fraternities should not supply the alcohol, Ellsworth said. If there is alcohol, it should be brought by the guests, and should be consumed only by those of age.

Each fraternity should also have guest lists that say who is allowed in, Ellsworth said.

With the lists, the fraternities can identify who was there, in case of something bad happening, Ellsworth said. The list also helps keep the number of people that show up low.

Members of the greek community are automatically on the list. Fraternity members are also allowed to put people on the list, Brothman said.

Sigma Alpha Mu member Daniel Abrams said his fraternity polices itself.

“We don’t do anything out of control,” Abrams said.

Abrams said all parties are supposed to be registered with the IFC.

The whole point of a fraternity is not the parties, Abrams said. They are only a very small piece of what takes place.

Abrams said fraternities are especially careful about checking IDs at their parties.

“If we screw up,” Abrams said, “the consequences are steep.”

Kelly Hoff, a dance senior and sorority member, enjoys going to fraternity parties, she said, partly because of the list and being able to know everyone there.

“I like (fraternity parties) because they are more personal,” Hoff said.

She doesn’t like random house parties, she said, because they charge $5 for a cup of beer and anyone can go.

While police say fraternity parties are broken up less frequently because there aren’t as many neighbor complaints, some non-greek residents of fraternity row said they have plenty to complain about.

The residents of the University Students’ Co-Op in the 1700 block of University Avenue Southeast, which sits between two fraternity houses, said they’ve had problems with the surrounding fraternities in the past.

One resident, German studies junior Lora Wichser said that almost a year ago, the day after their building got a new roof, one of the alumni from the fraternity next door threw scrap metal onto the roof, causing a lot of damage.

Wichser said she has had to go over to the fraternity house behind the co-op twice and tell members that they had left a drunken friend alone in their backyard hot tub.

Garbage on the lawn and people urinating on the co-op building are ongoing problems, she said. Being awakened late at night to fraternity members chanting songs isn’t uncommon either.

Wichser said a few co-op residents have called police in the past, but the police don’t seem to be doing anything about it.

“There is almost no police action that I see,” she said.