Spring Parties Are Problems for Schools Around PA and Beyond

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Co-authors: Jessica Brown and Kendyl Galbraith

Bloomsburg is not the only Pennsylvania university known for a controversial annual spring blow out.

Other Pennsylvania schools such as Penn State University, IUP, Temple, and Bucknell hold spring events typically involving heavy drinking. And it’s not only a Pennsylvania school problem; schools as far south as North Carolina A&T also hold alcohol-fueled spring parties. And like Bloomsburg, all of these places are now struggling with ways to keep the parties under control.

State Patty’s Day Changes
Penn State-Main, home to some 46,000 students, is not only known for its legendary Nittany Lion and football program, but also for its self-titled “State Patty’s Day.” According to the PSU State Patty’s Day Facebook event, more than 4,400 students RSVP’d to the event and another 1,900 people were interested in attending. Take into account all of the students that already go to Penn State and attend and the number was likely significantly larger.

Of course with this many teenagers and 20-somethings in the same place, it is bound to cause some problems in the surrounding area. In 2013 the local community government offered around three dozen bars and restaurants to close their doors on this day in order to discourage students and visitors from the reckless behaviors that State Patty’s Day had brought about in previous years. The on campus housing itself also made it illegal to have more than one visitor in your dorm room at a time.

In an article on the Daily Collegian, a Penn State news source written by students, Chuck Patterson (general manager of Brewsky’s Bottle Shop) said, “State Patty’s Day is nowhere as crazy as it used to be.”

IUP St. Paddy’s Day
Another Pennsylvania state system school, IUP, has their own annual St. Paddy’s Day party. Here, hundreds of students gather to celebrate the holiday, with tons of booze and partying. Like Bloomsburg’s, IUP police plan for the spring event in advance, gathering extra police force to be at hand. Riots have occurred the past several years. During the 2014 event, police responded to dozens of incidents and an officer even broke his hand, according to an article by TribLive.

Alternative Party Options
Alternative options for this weekend are provided at Penn State, IUP, and of course Bloomsburg. At Penn State the students, faculty, and borough put together an event called THAW to try to help pull students away from the alcohol-crazed party. IUP also offered an alcohol-free event where students could participate in a carnival, laser tag, and other family-friendly activities, similar to what BU offers in Springfest.

Temple Makes Changes
Temple university also is dealing with partying problems.

“Temple cracks down on off-campus alcohol violations,” says a recent headline on Philly.com.

Temple president, Neil D. Theobald, told philly.com that there will now be a hefty $1,500 fine to those who host nuisance parties, provide the alcohol, or have their name on the lease of a house where the party occurs. Those being fined may also face suspension or even expulsion. Bloomsburg also imposes a $1,500 fine on houses that host illegal gatherings.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clark said, “Stronger measures to discourage underage drinking an un-neighborly behavior are quite frankly overdue, for the sake of both student safety and community respect. This announcement is a welcome development, but it means nothing if not followed by measurable results.”

Much like Bloomsburg, non-Temple students attend these parties, which according to Charlie Leone, executive director of campus safety services, are like “small Mardi Gras scenarios.”

In previous years, Temple held an event called Spring Fling. This event was canceled by Theobald in the year 2013 after a West Chester student fell to her death at an off-campus party during Spring Fling.

Bisons Cancel Inter-Fraternity Council Event
Another school near Bloomsburg, Bucknell University, used to hold an Inter-Fraternity Council event until the president, John Bravman, canceled it in 2013. In an article on Pennlive, he said, “Whatever it was designed to be, it no longer is.”

The Inter-Fraternity Council event was said to be along the same lines as State Patty’s Day and Block Party, typically attracting people to campus. In 2013 the event caused 15 students to be hospitalized for insane blood alcohol levels. One student even urinated in the path of an administrator on campus on that Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Incidents such as sexual assaults, smashed windows, vomit on the quad, and arrests for burglary and drugs also occurred at the Inter-Fraternity Council event. Changes were to be implemented in the 2014 school year, while a committee reviewed the school’s alcohol policy.

Southern Spring Party
Further south, North Carolina A&T State University canceled their Aggie Fest this year due to safety concerns. Safety concerns included three students being robbed at gunpoint, an assault by three people, and possibilities of shots being fired.

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