This year’s Spring Fling weekend saw lower crimes and citations than in recent years, which may be the result of controversial drug and alcohol policies Penn adopted in 2018, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said.
This year, six students required medical transportation to the hospital, a significant decrease from 15 students in 2018 and 24 students in 2017. There were seven total violations of underage drinking, all of which received citations from Liquor Control Enforcement officers, who were dispatched from the state. In 2018, 15 students received violations from the state officers.
The reduction in the incidents comes after Penn implemented policies outlined by the Task Force on a Safe and Responsible Campus Community, Rush said. The Task Force on a Safe and Responsible Campus Community, which began in 2017, recommended a set of guidelines that required all student events to be registered and that limited the amount of alcohol that could be at parties. The guidelines were enforced starting March 2018.
“We think there’s been a big adherence to policies and a culture change in the off-campus areas in general,” Rush said. "Students were not roaming around and not intoxicated to levels of hospitalization. This was the best result of a Spring Fling concert that I can remember, ever."
In 2013, the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement started sending Pennsylvania State Police officers to patrol on and around campus during each Fling weekend. The officers consist of undercover and uniform police who search for open containers and underage drinking.
This Fling, the houses that have typically been problematic in the past understood and abided by the rules, Rush said. More parties have also been officially registered in recent months, Rush added.
"We saw a remarkable difference in the way people were taking responsibility off-campus," Rush said.
The Task Force guidelines also introduced event observers, who are paid $35 an hour to patrol the University City area to report parties that are in violation of the University's policies.
"We have event observers that are walking around and they work in cooperation with Penn Police. The amount of unregistered parties was lower this year and were quickly closed down," Rush said. "However, people who were just having a few friends over were not bothered at all."
This year, there were two different parties that had excessive amounts of hard liquor that were confiscated by Liquor Control Enforcement and Penn Police late Friday afternoon. These parties were both held in outdoor spaces, Rush said.
Despite the reduction in medical incidents and alcohol use, the number of noise complaints remained about the same. This year, 19 houses were reported for noise complaints by neighbors. This figure was a slight decrease from the 20 reports made in 2018 and 21 reports made in 2017.
For the past three years, there have been no citations for disorderly conduct over Fling weekend. There were no citations for public urination this year or in 2018, but there were three counts in 2017.
The medical transports were covered by the Alternative Response Unit, and no student was billed, Rush said. There were also no alcohol-related issues at the Fling concert on Saturday night and there was only one non-alcohol related medical injury, she added.
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