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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Block Party to host more Johns

Block Party is bringing more than just a beer truck to High Street. In an effort to reduce public indecency port-a-johns will be added to Block Party this year. Block Party coordinators, the Harm Reduction Committee and Grinnell Police Department hope that the port-a-johns’ presence at the party will discourage students from urinating in public.

“We’ve seen them urinating near the train tracks, which is not only against the law and against federal law for being on the train tracks unauthorized, but it’s also a dangerous situation,” said Grinnell Chief of Police Jody Matherly “So this year we recommended port-a-johns.”

Although public urination is typically common during Block Party, as it takes place outdoors from the late morning to the early afternoon on the last day of finals, the rainy weather last year led to a much larger number of students partaking in the practice. High Street home owners seeking to keep muddy footed individuals from using their bathrooms caused students to find their urination stations elsewhere, which usually meant outside and in public.

“Our house was covered, literally, in mud last year after Block Party and didn’t recover for some time,” said two time High Street resident and Block Party coordinator Chad Christoff ’10. “It was definitely an inconvenience for us, but we were not about to let the weather spoil Block

Besides the mud, the port-a-johns will hopefully limit damaged or stolen property on High Street, which has been a problem in past years.

Additionally, wristbands will also be distributed to 21-year-olds in compliance with the law, a rule last year’s coordinators forgot to enact.
“Wristbands have been a protocol for the College every year, and last year they forgot about them [and] we made sure that it’s going to be taken care of this year,” Matherly said. “We could certainly take action and ID people if we thought we needed to but by and large the coordinators of that event have acted responsibly [and] we allow them to take that task on.”

By ensuring that those only 21 and older sport the wristbands this year, the unspoken trusting relationship between the Grinnell Police Department and the Grinnell student body will continue. This healthy relationship ensures the continuation of Grinnell time-honored traditions, such as Block Party.

“The police want everybody to have a good time, they just don’t want anybody to do anything stupid or cause any distractions that take away from the party,” Christoff said. “They will arrest people for urinating anywhere in the block, and people who leave the block with an open container will definitely be on grounds to be arrested.”

Matherly hopes the Block Party tradition can continue and that students remember not to leave the parameter with drinks, or to urinate in public.

“I’ve been here seven years and I’ve supported it every year,” Matherly said. “Do what you’re supposed to throughout the year, treat our officers right, and, if you are arrested, be nice, and by and large it’s a great relationship. I think it’s a good thing for the students, a good thing for the city, good thing for the College. As long as they’re doing it responsibly and legally they’ll always have my support.”

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