Fling may be a tad less funky for underage drinkers. For the third straight year, the University has invited undercover agents from the Pennsylvania State Police's Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement to keep an eye on underage drinking during Spring Fling weekend -- and issue citations with "free reign," Penn officials said. LCE officials have promised Penn that at least 10 agents will patrol campus today and tomorrow, Director of Police Operations Maureen Rush said yesterday. "If they can do more [than 10], there will be more," she said, adding that the LCE will not use heavy-handed tactics. "They're not out here going at breakneck speed to see how many citations they can write," Rush said. "What we're looking for is a decrease in people walking around so totally blasted that they have know idea what's going on around them." LCE officials could not be reached for comment yesterday. Rush explained that the administration's primary reason for inviting the LCE to campus is to prevent the dangerous consequences of over-drinking. Once cited, a student has the choice of paying a $105 fee and attending a class on alcohol awareness or facing a $300 penalty. "We want to make sure that they're not going to the emergency room and being put on respirators, that they're not getting robbed because they've lost all sense of how to navigate city streets," Rush said. "We also want to avoid the combative behaviors we've seen with people who are absolutely totaled." She stressed that "we don't want to rain on anyone's fun." But two years ago, during the LCE's first stint on campus for Fling, many students said they felt it was a different story. Agents issued 180 citations for underage drinking during Fling weekend in 1996 and several students said they were cited for drinking as little as one or two beers. In 1997, by contrast, the LCE issued "fewer than 25" citations over the weekend. Many attributed the sharp decrease to weather that was cold and rainy at times, keeping more students inside. Rain is also expected this year, although the weather does not look to be nearly as dismal as last year's slush. And Rush said she is looking forward to the weekend, particularly because the administration is beginning a new tradition this year: a post-party Pancake Breakfast which will take place at 1:30 a.m. Sunday outside the Class of 1920 Commons. Along with Rush, virtually every member of the University Police will be on hand this weekend -- most of them for extended 12-hour shifts. Days off for the Penn Police have been canceled. As in other years, Philadelphia Police officers will also be present in larger numbers on campus, although Rush said she did not know how many would show up.Comments powered by Disqus
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