Ryan Morgan, News Editor:
Police Chief Joseph Dooley presided this year, setting bails at the fifth annual Jail N’ Bail for the first time.
“I always like to catch the bad guys so this is definitely different,” said Dooley. “I was asked to be a judge this year and of course said yes to support the fundraiser. It’s a good time, people are here laughing and smiling because it is all for a good cause.”
The event is put on by Beta Mu Sigma fraternity and the campus police. Students, faculty and staff fill out “warrants” for the arrest of other members of the Southern community. Willing participants are escorted to the mock jail, bail is set, and the volunteer is asked to raise the money before leaving the cell. Proceeds go to Special Olympics Connecticut. Dave Langer, current treasurer and next year’s president of Beta Mu Sigma, said the partnership with Special Olympics Conn. goes back to the first Jail N’ Bail.
Junior Kelly Pereira took part in the event for the first time this year.
“I got handcuffed and the big whale [The CT Whale hockey mascot] brought me in,” said Pereira. “My bail is $65 so I’ve been calling my family and begging for dollars for over an hour and a half. It is fun and you are raising money for Special Olympics so why not?”
Bringing in mascots, like the whale, was a new initiative this year. Langer said he focused more on public relations this year than in years past and looked to bring in mascots to add a little something to the event.
The event has exceeded expectations over the years and has been given multiple awards. Beta Mu Sigma was honored with the 2008 Outstanding Charitable Donation Award and the On Going Greek Service Project in 2009 for their work since 2004. Overall, Langer said the fraternity has donated over $80,000 to Special Olympics Conn. since 2004.
“We are still waiting to hear back from Special Olympics Conn., since they collected most of the money, but for a rough estimate, we collected about $8,000 in cash alone,” said Langer.
The fraternity has helped at other local Jail N’ Bails at Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University. Langer said between all three universities, over $150,000 has been raised in the past five years.
“Beta Mu Sigma’s support for this is phenomenal,” said Dooley. “They work so hard and the faces in the athletes that come in June for the games says it all. I have to tip my hat off to so many people. These guys are doing great things here.”
Some professors even cancelled class for the event.
“I was teaching my class, history 106, and I just started talking for about 10 minutes and was about to get into my regular lecture when the police walked in and handcuffed me,” said Tom Radice of the history department, who was arrested for the first time last week. “[The class] stayed for about five minutes and I got about $35 out of them before they left as fast as they could.”
Radice said he’d stay in the cell until he met his $85 bail.
Looking forward, Langer said some changes are being considered. From banning arresting during class to asking other organizations to help work the event, Beta Mu Sigma has decisions to make as they look forward to holding more successful Jail N’ Bails in the future.
“When I was down in Fairfield, a woman came up to me and said, ‘what you guys do for Special Olympics is so great and it can’t be beat,’” said Langer. “Hearing that and seeing the faces of the athletes light up makes my job so much easier and it is just incredible.”