University Police officials are working with the Greek-letter organizations living in Townhouse Row to develop security procedures and curb underage drinking at GW’s newest residential facility.
UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said security measures at Townhouse Row have proven effective so far, adding that no alcohol violations have been recorded since the facility opened to students in August.
“There has been lots of communication with the presidents of the Greek organizations in regards to expectations and following the rules,” Stafford said.
Since Townhouse Row is owned and operated by the University, its residents are subject to the same rules followed by students living in other University facilities, Stafford said. The three fraternities and five sororities that occupy the townhouses must also follow regulations outlined by their national chapters.
Four cameras that will overlook the alley between the Smith Center and Townhouse Row will be installed within the next few weeks, said Stafford, noting that the Greek-letter groups requested the cameras because of security concerns. There are no cameras inside the houses.
“In a meeting, we decided that the security cameras would be a good idea for added safety. It is dark and a lot of people traffic through there,” said senior Catherine Hill, president of the Delta Gamma sorority.
UPD officers are required to patrol the houses once every three hours, Stafford said. The patrols mirror those performed in freshman residence halls such as Thurston Hall and the Hall on Virginia Avenue. Officers patrol the houses’ common areas, which include the living room, basement and hallways.
“We actively patrol the buildings and try to get a sense of what goes on in the residence halls,” Stafford said. “We don’t assume that there will be any more or any less drinking at Townhouse Row.”
“It’s all new to us, so we are still working though details of policies and procedures to set up,” she added.
Some Greek-letter organization members said they have not seen UPD officers patrol the townhouses regularly.
“We have not noticed a significant presence of the UPD as of now,” said senior Daryl Muller, president of Pi Kappa Phi.
“I have not seen them patrol the house, but we have not had any problems yet,” said junior Kim Hunter, a member of Alpha Phi.
Despite the absence of reported alcohol violations, officers have encountered intoxicated students in the vicinity of Townhouse Row.
Last month, an officer patrolling the alley between the Smith Center and Townhouse Row discovered two unconscious female students “covered in vomit,” according to a UPD crime report.
The underage students, members of a sorority occupying one of the townhouses, were taken to the GW Hospital for excessive alcohol consumption.
Stafford said the sorority was not held responsible because there was no evidence showing that the students had been drinking at their sorority’s house.
Two officers are assigned to oversee Townhouse Row, as stipulated by the Adopt-an-Officer program, which assigns at least one officer to each of the 28 residence halls on campus. The officers meet with students once a week to discuss security issues and build relationships with students, Stafford said.
All recognized fraternities must register all parties with the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education 10 days before a party is scheduled to take place. No Townhouse Row parties have been registered with CADE this year. National party rules preclude sororities living in Townhouse Row to hold parties and drink liquor in sorority houses, Stafford said.
At CADE-sanctioned parties, underage students will be distinguished with I.D. bracelets, and food and non-alcoholic beverages must be made available at all parties. UPD will also provide security at the parties and assist house staff in checking IDs, Stafford said.
“Underage drinking is extremely prevalent … so we make sure alcohol education is followed,” said Muller, adding that the fraternity has yet to register a party with CADE.
If an underage student is caught with alcohol at a registered party, the student is held responsible and will appear before Student Judicial Services for punishment.
If one fraternity is caught breaking the code of conduct, other houses will not be checked on Townhouse Row unless there is reason to do so, Stafford said. Fraternities in violation of GW rules governing alcohol consumption and distribution will be referred to the Interfraternity Council for disciplinary action.