Melee Prompts UW to Help Improve Security Off Campus

Interim President Lee Huntsman announced Oct. 3 a set of initiatives to address issues of noise, disturbance and security in the neighborhood bordering the University north of N.E. 45th Street. In the early morning of Sept. 28, partygoers started a melee that saw cars overturned, rocks thrown at police and the use of pepper gas.

Police estimate that about $6,000 in damage occurred at the intersection of N.E. 47th Street and 18th Avenue N.E. Rioters overturned vehicles, smashed police car windows and broke a fire hydrant and street signs. Several robberies also occurred as well as fistfights and rock throwing. As Columns went to press in mid-November, those arrested so far have not been UW students, but city officials want the UW to do more to stop unruly behavior on its doorstep.

"The illegal and uncivil behavior that took place last weekend is unacceptable to me and our entire University community," Huntsman said. "We are actively cooperating with the Seattle Police Department to identify those responsible and to hold them accountable for their actions." Seattle police has posted digital images of lawbreakers on a Web site at UW TASK FORCE. Anyone who can identify the suspects should call the police tip line at 206-233-2666.

This is not the first time police have been called to a disturbance on Greek Row. In September 1992, a UW student, Jennifer Wen, lost the sight in one eye as a result of a beer bottle being thrown in a fracas between members of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and a group of Husky football players. That incident prompted the UW to tighten its recognition agreements with fraternities and sororities [see "Honor House or Animal House?" June 1993].

Eleven years later, new actions agreed to by the University and student leaders include:

  • The Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Association, in conjunction with the Seattle police and UW, are increasing police patrols in the neighborhood. There is a history of incidents on the streets, prompting many students to be concerned for their safety.
  • The IFC, Alumni Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic will develop a list of ways to make their chapter houses safer. This will include such issues as lighting, house alarms, emergency plans and surveillance cameras.
  • The Greek community, in consultation with the University, will seek to improve communication with other residents of the area.
  • Chapter leaders will discuss with their members the importance of not contributing to emerging problems by remaining in the vicinity of unruly behavior and providing unintended encouragement and cover for lawbreakers. In addition, the UW and Seattle police departments, in collaboration with the State Liquor Control Board, will establish two incident prevention teams to visit both registered and unregistered parties in the University District to ensure that laws controlling alcohol and noise are observed.

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