Northwestern, Evanston officials aim to soothe resident concerns ahead of Dillo Day


Clare Proctor/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg sophomore Juan Zuniga speaks at an event Thursday. Northwestern and Evanston officials provided updates to community members concerning upcoming events, including Dillo Day and the Ohio State versus Northwestern football game.

Clare Proctor, Reporter

With Dillo Day — Northwestern’s annual student-run music festival — less than a month away, Evanston residents voiced their concerns at a Thursday meeting and offered feedback on proper policing and community maintenance.

Evanston and NU officials held the meeting to update residents on upcoming events — including Dillo Day on June 1 and the Ohio State University football game scheduled for Friday, October 18. Residents had the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback on how to improve relations between the University and the community. Representatives from University Police, the Evanston Police Department and Mayfest Productions, the student group that hosts Dillo Day, gave updates at the event.

Weinberg sophomore Juan Zuniga, a member of Mayfest’s University Relations committee, said the biggest concern for Dillo Day is to ensure the safety and security of both students and Evanston residents.

“We really just want to provide a really fun festival experience by the lake before Northwestern students go into finals,” Zuniga said. “It’s really just kind of a day to all come together and celebrate this community for another amazing year.”

In response to concerns over security for the music festival, UP Deputy Chief Eric Chin said the event will be monitored by 85 civilian security guards, 10 EPD officers and 39 University Police officers. He said Dillo Day attendees can only enter through a single entrance, where they will undergo a visual screening for increased security.

Residents voiced concerns that the problem with Dillo Day is not on campus, but rather off-campus, at parties after and during the music festival. But Evanston resident Bruce Enenbach told The Daily that relations between NU and the city are “on the right track.”

“Having lived in Evanston since 1977, the community relations have improved a lot,” Enenbach said. “But as always, they need improvement. We’re getting there.”

Officials also discussed other partnerships between NU and the Evanston community.

EPD and UP have been working to collaborate on a day-to-day basis, Chin said. In response to an “uptick” in reported burglaries over Northwestern’s winter break, Chin said UP partnered with the EPD during spring break to provide extra patrol and coverage over the areas where students live. There were no burglaries reported over the break, Chin said.

The University and EPD officers have also begun training together to increase community safety, Chin said.

“This is the way that we can best protect the community and be able to respond and ensure that we offer the highest level of customer service as possible,” Chin said.

Evanston police Chief Demitrous Cook echoed the significance of the collaboration. He said it’s “very important” for EPD officers to be familiar with Northwestern’s campus in the event of any dangerous situations.

The partnership between Northwestern and the city has benefitted EPD in light of the city’s “financial constraints” following a $7.5 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2019, Cook said.

“The University has stepped up and afforded us to continue, and even grow, the partnership and put our resources that’s needed to maintain the quality of life that you expect in your neighborhood,” Cook said.

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