Every year in the month of April students organize Quadfest, an off-campus series of parties in which party- goers near and far travel to Radford to partake in it. Students feel apprehensive around this time because of the heightened surveillance of campus police, city police, and the Residential Life staff (RAs).
A student’s frustration with such surveillance is shown on the Quadfest 2013 Twitter page, “Lets hope the cops don’t [mess] it up. #Quadfest.”
Many students believe enforcers of school policy and city codes are out to get them, but according to Sergeant Scott Shaffer, their main goal is to keep violence to a minimum and ensure the safety of everyone on and off campus.
“You can’t live out your full Quadfest or college experience because you’re always watching your back to make sure you’re not getting in trouble,” Senior Chryshelle Myers said. “It’s calmed down over the years but I think there may be too many cops since Quadfest doesn’t get out of hand like it used to.”
The city has taken measures to pre-plan and help students stay safe by planning programs with Greek life and residential life, coming to residence halls to speak to students, and passing out flyers on information of how to stay safe.
Junior Kiara Hagan feels differently about Quadfest. On her Twitter account, she tweeted, “Quadfest…one huge party, outside, inside, to your left to your right, there are just parties everywhere,” Kiara said.
The police department has always had a role in keeping Quadfest safe, even when it was a school-sanctioned event. Increased surveillance didn’t become a large aspect of Quadfest until 2005 when there was a large riot on Fairfax street in which law enforcement was not prepared for. Since then, the city police department has prepared in advance for the worst that can happen by having over 200 officers on duty, including undercover officers, and a command center on Clement Street where people can go for help.
“We didn’t want to be unprepared again like we have been in the past,” Shaffer said. The City of Radford has set up a multi-jurisdictional authority for the weekend in which campus police, city police, state police, surrounding local enforcement agencies, DMV Officers, and alcohol beverage control will be out patrolling the streets. Alcohol Beverage Control plans to deal mainly with underage drinking issues. Students can expect to see large crowds in the streets, and more officers on and off campus who will walk through campus and in the residence halls. Officers do not plan to randomly stop students that aren’t causing a problem.
“We want to only focus on what we have to respond to, if a party does get out of hand, we may respond to keep everyone safe,” Shaffer said. “Things that catch our attention are sometimes just dumb luck when a person is at the wrong place at the wrong time, someone helping them walk, being by yourself or doing things to endanger yourself.” With 600 arrests in 2009, the number of arrests continue to decline as the years go on. Most offenses dealt with underage drinking or drunk in public charges.
Most of the serious offenders aren’t students at Radford University. Quadfest used to be a university-sanctioned event where the university would have live concerts on the lawn that sprung from “end of the world parties.” Although Radford has recently just became a dry campus, Quadfest was originally a non-alcoholic event. As time passed, Quadfest began to migrate to off-campus partying. Eventually the university withdrew affiliation with the event as a result of bad publicity such as assaults and other offenses committed during Quadfest.
The most important concern of law enforcement is binge drinking because of the negative results it has on their job such as arrests for violent offenses, sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning, and the influx of disciplinary hearings that happen after Quadfest in the Dean of Students Office.
Quadfest draws students from schools near and far and is known as one of the biggest parties of the semester. Despite the crowds of students filling the streets some students are reluctant about the things Quadfest brings. As an alternative, the Moffett Quad staff got together to plan a program on the Moffett Lawn called, “Moffett Madness” where students will be able to have a safe place to have fun.
“We know that students will do what they please during Quadfest, we just want to make sure that as long as students are on the premises, they will remain safe, “Resident Assistant Madison Suter said. “During this weekend we will be eyes and ears for those authorities who want to keep students safe, but we also want them to have fun.”