University to fulfill promise to DeVercellys

By Mike Caputo

A week has passed since the alcohol-related death of freshman Gary DeVercelly and the University has commenced its effort to achieve President Mordechai Rozanski’s goal of ensuring an incident like this “never happens again.”

The University has already increased Public Safety presence in the Greek houses and begun to conduct and organize forums involving Greeks and the general student
population.

Beginning this week, Public Safety officers have been making up to three rounds per night in the Greek houses, said several students. Students have observed that the officer tours of the houses have been spread out about every two hours — similar to those a
resident advisor performs in the residence halls during nightly duty hours. Director of Public Safety Vickie Weaver said the rounds by officers do not occur at set times.

According to Weaver, these Public Safety sweeps of the Greek houses have been devised in conjunction with the Office of Greek Life and are only on an “interim” basis. Weaver emphasized that Public Safety is onboard with the president in his decision to incorporate students in any process involving policy changes and revisions.

“I certainly want to include the students [in] long-term plans that we have and even the short-term plans,” Weaver said.

She added that the officers do not walk through the Greek houses simply to patrol and enforce University policy, but to also “help [students] process through what has taken place.”

On Wednesday night, members of the Greek community joined administrators in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater for a “Town Hall” meeting.

As a result of PKT’s administrative suspension, forbidding the fraternity to take part in Greek functions, the PKT brothers were not permitted to attend the forum.

At the forum, Rozanski revealed details about a Task Force, led by University Provost Donald Steven and Associate Vice President for Planning Debbie Stassola, to devise a plan of action by the end of the spring semester.

The Task Force will review and assess Rider’s alcohol policies, enforcement activities, and education and outreach programs, “as well as the issue of individual and group responsibility,” Rozanski said.

After the formal part of the program, Greek audience members were split up into “round-table discussion” groups, each led by a University official.

Dean of Students Tony Campbell said the Town Hall meeting was a success and that all the information from the round-table discussions would be fed to the Task Force.

“What I am seeing is that obviously we are still in pain,” said Campbell. “We are still hurting. But we made a promise to the DeVercelly family that we would try to use this to make positive changes. We are in the process now of being able to make those positive
changes.”

After the meeting, PKT members were allowed to join the Town Hall attendees on the BLC patio in a candlelight vigil.

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