Housing Guide: House Party

Having a bouncer mark minors before they come in can help keep them accountable from drinking alcohol illegally. Hosts can also write a guest list to keep track of who is invited and keep strangers out of the party.

Parties are a staple of college life. However, not every party can turn out well. Undeclared freshman Jennifer Wildbergh encountered such a party in October.

“It all seemed awesome until it got really busy,” she said. “They wouldn’t let us open the doors, and I got too hot and I tried to leave. The guy guarding the door wouldn’t let me out until I shoved him out of the way.”

Wildbergh’s experience didn’t end with poor ventilation.

“They didn’t have any nonalcoholic drinks, so if you were dying of thirst, it was either chug liquor or beer,” she said. “It sucked.”

Parties don’t have to be hard on guests, though. A good host can throw a successful party that leaves guests feeling safe and good by tackling issues such as loud noise and underage drinking.

Loud-noise complaints are the most common problems with police, said Rick Gomez, UTA acting police chief.

To keep noise down, putting pillows in the windows and restricting the amount of noise outside is the best way to prevent noise complaints, said Rafael Martinez, an international business administration senior and the chaplain for the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

“Keep the flow of the party inside,” he said. “And keep all the doors closed.”

According to Arlington city law, section 15-6, restrictions on residential noise include anything above 74 decibels. Exceeding this sound limit is a punishable offense and a misdemeanor charge, with a fine of no less than $25 and no more than $2,500.

Additional party-related problems include those relating to alcohol: minor in possession, minor in consumption and public intoxication, said Gomez.

In order to keep minors from illegally getting alcohol, have a bouncer at the door with wristbands, said Martinez. Guests of legal age get wristbands, while minors are marked with Xs on their hands to prevent them from drinking illegally, he said.

While such a system is a defense against illegal consumption of alcohol, minors can still find ways to obtain it. Hosts should be cautious, because it is still a crime to unknowingly provide alcohol to minors, Gomez said.

Once it’s apparent that minors have acquired access to alcohol, a disciplinary referral as per the student code of conduct is issued not only to the violator, but the host as well, Gomez said.

The most important part of the party, however, is a guest list, said Martinez.

A guest list allows hosts to know exactly who is getting in — a great way to keep people of questionable character out — which adds trust, makes the party safer for everyone and can prevent theft of belongings, Martinez said.

Guest lists can help cut down on the possibility of dangerous or mischievous people in party situations, said Martinez. The hosts are in complete control of who is allowed in, allowing them to prevent the presence of unsavory guests, he said.

In addition to adhering to a guest list, guests should tell others where they are going before attending the party, leave with the same groups they arrived with and watch over their drinks, Gomez said.

Following this advice, hosts can create a fun, comfortable and safe environment.

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