Sigma Nu called University Police early last Saturday complaining three people were causing a disruption on the fraternity’s property, one of whom was 2nd District Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken, according to University Police reports.
BUPD received two calls on Friday night on complaints of noise at the fraternity house. An officer dispatched to the house found people on the back patio with the door open.
The students turned the music off and moved to the front of the house, away from residents and closer to campus, according to the officer’s report.
Van Auken said she was at the fraternity to investigate a constituent’s noise complaints, according to the police report.
She told the Journal Star she was at a friend’s dinner party near the fraternity house when she learned a neighbor was concerned about the noise Sigma Nu was causing.
BUPD was dispatched to Sigma Nu, 1300 W. Fredonia Ave., at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Fraternity members Matt Singley and Ben Johnson told police they were in front of the house with about 10 other people when Van Auken, neighborhood resident Andrew Rand and an unidentified man approached them, according to police reports.
The two members said they asked the three to stay off the property. Singley said in the police report Van Auken seemed “extremely intoxicated,” and all three refused to leave.
Singley said Van Auken grabbed him by the arm and demanded to speak to a house officer.
BUPD officer William Merritt, who responded to the call, said in his report Van Auken “seemed to be very lethargic, some slurring in her speech and some of her actions seemed to be over-exaggerated – all signs of intoxication.”
Van Auken told the Journal Star she had “two glasses of wine and a couple sips of an after-dinner drink” at the dinner party. And according to police reports, she said she wanted the “real police” to respond “since Bradley doesn’t think there [was] an issue.”
But according to the Journal Star, Van Auken denied making that statement and said one of the two other men she was with made the comment.
Six to eight Peoria police offers showed up at the fraternity house, along with University Police Chief Dave Baer and Vice President for Business Affairs Gary Anna.
Peoria Police Department issued Sigma Nu a citation for noise, though BUPD originally said the fraternity wasn’t in violation.
Sigma Nu President Caleb Matheny, who was also involved in the confrontation, filed a complaint with police to question why Van Auken, Rand and the unidentified second man weren’t ticketed for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to the Journal Star.
Matheny said he made a signed statement with BUPD encouraging the state’s attorney to pursue the case against Van Auken for trespassing and disorderly conduct and Rand for trespassing.
He also said he’s disappointed the situation occurred the way it did.
“The harassment has been going on between the neighborhood and the greek community, and it seems Sigma Nu, probably because of its location, has been mostly targeted,” he said. “We want to work with them to make sure both parties are happy with the environment around here, but it doesn’t seem like we’re finding that middle point.”