Fling crime
This year's Fling saw rise in students brought to hospital, underage drinking citations from last year

This past weekend, 25 students were transported to the hospital during Spring Fling for alcohol-related incidents, according to the Division of Public Safety.

That number is up from 22 students last year, but considerably less than the 35 who were transported in 2012.

While the majority of students were transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, some students were sent to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

DPS noted that there were a few students whose blood alcohol content levels worried the doctors.

“We’re thankful that their friends called us,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. With Penn’s Medical Amnesty Policy, students are supposed to feel more comfortable making sure their friends are safe when it comes to alcohol-related incidents.

As Penn students enjoyed Spring Fling last weekend, DPS and the Medical Emergency Response Team worked hard to keep students safe.

This year, there were 14 liquor law violations, all of which were citations for underage drinking. In 2015, there were only 2 citations for underage drinking, but there were 20 in 2014.

Starting in 2013, officers from the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement began patrolling on and around campus during Fling. That year, over 30 students were cited for underage drinking.

In October of 2012, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 941 raised the maximum fine for a first offense of underage drinking to $500 and for a second offense to $1000. The BLCE’s presence at Penn during Fling 2013 was part of a general crackdown on underage drinking on college campuses. Temple, St. Joseph’s and La Salle universities have also seen an increased BLCE presence.

Fling this year saw only one citation for public urination. In 2015, there were 7 citations for disorderly conduct, underage drinking and public urination, a number that decreased significantly from 35 in 2014.

Rush cited the beautiful weather of this past weekend as a reason for longer parties this year. If it had rained as in previous years, Rush said, there would have been fewer opportunities to party outdoors.

“Nice weather is not our friend for Spring Fling weekend,” Rush said.

Typically, Thursday has been a busier night for DPS and MERT. “We hit Thursday night full force,” Rush said.

She noted that Saturday night this year was slow until midnight, when students began to travel toward the western edge of campus.

This year, 36 houses were listed as disturbances. Most of these were in response to a noise disturbance complaint, though if DPS officials hear the party from two blocks away, they will ask students to turn the music down. Not all house disturbances turn into parties being shut down.

Last year, there were 27 house disturbances, in comparison to 8 during 2014, when it rained.

DPS and Penn Police also take into consideration fire and safety laws when responding to a house disturbance. In April 2013, a West Chester University student fell from a third-floor roof at a Temple party during their Spring Fling, The Temple News reported. In 2015, Temple freshman Rebecca Kim fell off an eighth-story window ledge of a building while taking photographs, a USA Today article reported.

As a response to these rooftop falls, DPS made sure that Penn students were not on rooftops that did not have railings, especially if they had been drinking.

Parties were also shut down for overcrowding, DPS said. “We have certain houses that are on our radar screen as problem houses,” Rush said.

People from a few houses that put people in danger, particularly in terms of fire code issues, will be brought back in to DPS to discuss what happened.

Last year, Penn had one narcotics arrest, but there were none this year.

Prior to Fling, the entire Penn team, including DPS, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Penn Police, AlliedBarton, PennComm, MERT and the Division of the Vice Provost for University Life all worked cooperatively to prepare for Fling.

Before the weekend, Rush warned students about the danger of throwing house parties when students do not know who is in their homes. She also noted that DPS and MERT watch out for people who need to be hospitalized for alcohol-related medical reasons or for sexual crimes.

Coaches and administrative officials rode along with Penn Police during Fling and sought to intervene early before situations got out of hand.

They wanted to make sure that “students [were] able to enjoy and also be safe,” Rush said.