King: Ames Police shouldn’t Bust so many Parties

Scott King

I’ll be the first to admit that this may the ultimate “first world problem,” but nonetheless, I want to talk about why I think the Ames police should not break up as many college parties as they currently do.    

I, like many upperclassmen, have been to upwards of ten house parties that have gotten broken up by the police.  My roommates and I have also hosted multiple mild house parties that ended with the arrival of the men in blue and the scattering of minors fleeing from the dreaded M.I.P.  For these reasons I believe that I can accurately paint a picture of the average house party in Ames that gets busted. 

Most college party houses are old and not in great shape.  If the tenants are lucky they have hardwood or tile floors, a porch, and a spacious basement lined with black lights.  When the party is in full swing you can see people in every window and hear the music from the sidewalk.  There’s usually of group of people standing around in the front yard with beers in hand and a guy peeing on a tree in the back yard.  If it’s warm enough there’s usually a lot of people outside and a lot of guys peeing on trees. 

Picture lots of party hoppers coming and going from the front door to the sidewalk.  Almost everyone is pretty loud and carrying some sort alcohol with them. 

Sounds pretty reckless and out of control right?  Most ISU students, including myself, won’t say that such a party is out of control.  However, some students, ISU faculty, non-collegiate adults, and police would disagree with us.  

They would assume that the party is indeed out of control and that it’s time for the police to intervene.  Based on the looks of the party from the street, this may be a far assumption for disapproving onlookers to make.  It may also be a fair assumption for the police to make.  The trouble is, this assumption is almost always wrong. 

Let’s take an imaginary journey into the party.  As you walk up the front sidewalk to the door you are greeted (people who are drinking are almost always friendly people) by the partiers who prefer fresh air over the music playing inside.  You get inside and it’s hot and cramped, and yet people are smiling and having a good time.  If you’re lucky, the song Sweet Caroline comes on and everyone stops their conversations and sings along.  As you wander around the party, you get lucky and run into some people you know.

So what else happens at these parties?  The best thing that happens, and I’m sure many of my fellow students would agree, is that you meet new people!  If you ask me, the excitement of beer pong and beer bongs pales in comparison to the excitement of meeting new people. 

Now some might say that you can meet new people in plenty of other places, and that is true, but there is a certain ease to meeting people at parties.  This “ease” is no doubt due mostly to alcohol – although I think overall good vibes of house parties plays a big role – and I don’t see anything wrong with using a little alcohol to help you relax and meet new people.  Obviously, overuse of alcohol to the point where you’ve put yourself in danger is always a problem. 

Of course not all college house parties are like the one I described above.  Sometimes problems arise where police need to interfere.  For example, a fight in the street outside of one of my neighbor’s house this Halloween led to the bust of that party.  Of course the cops were justified in breaking up the fight and the party that led to it.  That being said, this is the only time I’ve seen, or even heard of, the cops breaking up a party because it was causing a potential threat.

Most college party houses are located within college neighborhoods, so complaints about parties from neighbors are rare.  Even if such calls are made, I personally don’t think that the slight comfort of one person justified ruining the good time of many. 

If you can think of any legitimate reasons why police constantly break up house parties, I would love to hear them, because I cannot.  Parties rarely have any negative effects on anyone and are often busted simply because they decibel level of the party exceeds 60 – which is not very loud at all.  

I think the Ames Police need to rethink their policies on college parties.  Parties should need to be causing legitimate threats or damages in order for the cops to intervene. 

A bunch of college kids standing around in a driveway and garage, listening to music and having some beers, should not justify the breaking up of that party as well as the issuing of multiple M.I.P.’s and tickets to the tenants. 

Sometimes in life, risks need to be taken, and the risks involved with a college house party are almost always far outweighed by the potential for great memories and new friendships.