Last weekend’s annual Roundup event for prospective members of UT fraternities and sororities may have seemed like a wild time for some West Campus residents, but it resulted in fewer arrests than last year, according to the Austin Police Department.
Roundup, a weekend synonymous with neon colors, tank tops, fanny packs and free alcohol, is an annual celebration put on by the Interfraternity Council and the University Panhellenic Council, said Paul Kleiman, a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. The event draws hundreds of prospective UT students to Austin’s West Campus area to interest them in the University and the Greek system.
This year, crimes in the West Campus area between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and 28th Street and Guadalupe Street and Lamar Boulevard totaled eight exclusively nonviolent crimes and zero public intoxication charges. The number was a decrease from Roundup 2010’s total of 31 crimes within the same area. In 2010, APD reported seven counts of public intoxication, seven counts of criminal mischief and five vehicle burglaries, among other crimes.
The weekend of March 18, APD reported zero public intoxication charges and one criminal mischief charge, along with several other incidents. Full data reports are not yet available from APD and the UT Police Department.
Kleiman, a history and Plan I honors senior, said fraternities and sororities use Roundup as a way to advertise and lay the groundwork for future recruitment. Fraternities invited musical acts such as the Ying Yang Twins and the Academy Award-winning rap group Three 6 Mafia to interest UT students present and future alike.
Almost all fraternities have some kind of risk management policy, which includes elements such as sober fraternity brothers, using third-party vendors to dispense alcohol, keeping guest lists at the door and checking identification, Kleiman said.
“In AEPi, we have a position on our executive board that is responsible for risk management during social events,” Kleiman said. “I think that most fraternities really do a good job at getting people the proper help that they need in case there is an emergency.”
He said despite Roundup’s negative reputation among some West Campus residents, many fraternities and sororities also hold events during Roundup to raise money for their philanthropy.
UTPD Crime Prevention Officer Darrell Halstead said his office is very concerned about Roundup weekend because of its invitation for underage drinking. He said UTPD notified APD and learned they had additional officers to cover the area during the weekend.
UTPD Chief Robert Dahlstrom said the department was a little busier than usual, because of a combination of increased student presence in West Campus and copious amounts of alcohol.
“I’m not a fan of anyone giving minors alcohol,” Dahlstrom said. “They don’t make good decisions. Nobody makes good decisions when they’re drunk. An unlucky bad decision could lead to one of these kids killing someone else or getting themselves killed.”
Radio-television-film senior Joseph Hassage, who lives at the House of Commons Co-op in West Campus, said he witnessed the darker side of Roundup firsthand.
“The porch at my house looks out onto Rio Grande and I would just watch people go by in these crazy costumes of theirs and throw up and get into fights,” Hassage said.
Hassage said that he cannot believe that crime did not drastically increase during Roundup.
“I saw a guy get a beer dropped on his head from three stories up and start crying,” Hassage said. “Someone should be arrested for that.”