Preparations in Cedar Falls for next week’s homecoming festivities at the University of Northern Iowa include more than floats and window painting. The university has mailed postcards and brochures to students explaining alcohol laws, crowd safety tips and the penalty for using a fake I-D. Edgar Berry, the Associate Vice President for Educational Services, says they’re trying to head off any problems by educating the students. He says they want to make sure that all of the young people understand that “there are certain rules and regulations that apply to the activities of homecoming and we want that information out front so people have that available when they make the decision to join us for homecoming.” City officials estimated some five-thousand people gathered along the bar/restaurant area known as “The Hill” near the U-N-I campus during homecoming last year. Berry says eyes in the sky will watch the festivities this year as surveillance cameras will be in place to watch for trouble. He says a lot of the preparation in terms of the cameras and barricades are put in place by the city, but he says that’s done in concert with the university. There was a riot on the Hill in 1996, and Berry says city and college officials are taking a preventative approach. He says they’re trying to let the young people know they have to obey the requests of the officers, so if the officers tell them they’re in a dangerous situation and they should move on, then they need to comply with the instructions. Berry says they’re not trying to keep anyone from celebrating — they just want everyone to follow the motto “Celebrate with Pride.” He says that means,”Be safe, be smart and be proud.” He says they want the message to be “have a good time, but we also want you to be safe.” Berry says the students need to know there are some serious consequences if they don’t act responsibly.He says it can range from warnings to probation, expulsion to suspension. He says they’ll be sure that every is treated equitably, and if they can help them complete their education they’ll try to do that. Homecoming week at U-N-I begins Monday and culminates with the parade and football game on Saturday.
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