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The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement for the District of Philadelphia will be making a guest appearance over Fling Weekend in the form of undercover officers authorized to cite students for underage drinking.

Three weeks ago a commanding officer for the LCE alerted the Division of Public Safety that Penn was “on their radar screen,” according to Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush. The LCE has been cracking down on underage drinking at other universities in the area, including La Salle and Temple.

Rather than having the LCE just “swarm campus,” DPS decided to pre-empt the state police by inviting the residents of six “problem houses” — those identified as holding “out of control parties” in the past — to a meeting in which they were given due warning about the consequences of holding similar events over Fling weekend, Rush explained.

Rush said that the “six problem houses” belonged largely to underground organizations and believed that one of the houses was specifically used as a “party house.”

“We are hoping that they will take the message back to these houses,” she added. “But the LCE will be looking at activities on the streets as well.”

That means that people walking with open containers of alcohol and spontaneous block parties on side streets are fair game for undercover officers. Initially, the problematic parties came to DPS’s attention as they overflowed into the street.

“They can’t break down the door, but many of [Penn’s] parties are off-campus and the doors are wide open,” Rush said.

Historically, Fling weekend has become less raucous since the 1990s, when students could be seen roaming the streets of West Philadelphia with open containers of alcohol, jumping off of roofs and occasionally overturning cars, Rush added.

Rush wanted to remind students of the repercussions of getting cited for underage drinking — which carries a $500 – $1000 fine for the first offense, as well as a 90 days driver’s license suspension, and in some cases, alcohol education and community service.

Getting cited means that even if you carry a driver’s license from another state you will lose it for 90 days.

She also warned against furnishing alcohol to minors — which carries a penalty of $1,000 for the first violation and a fine of $2,500 for each subsequent violation, as well as up to a year in jail time.

“Our top priority is to keep you safe,” she added. “And nothing’s changed about medical amnesty.” But Rush also wanted to stress that medical amnesty does not cover you if you become in involved in a crime.

As for the LCE, Rush had this to say: “They’re coming … and they’re going to make their mark.”

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