City police arrest 41 during ‘Fake Patty’s Day’

Benjamin VanHoose

For Kent State students, red Solo cups, dance playlists and green attire signified the beginning of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations five days before the actual holiday. Unfortunately, the luck of the Irish didn’t apply to everyone since the police made 41 total arrests.

Typically on the Saturday prior to the holiday, students jump at the chance to do their partying on the weekend without worrying about nursing a hangover during class the next morning.

Kent Police Lt. Michael Lewis said more than 160 calls for service were made concerning issues such as assault, loud parties, fights, trespassing and fireworks. Twelve calls were made for fire/EMS matters as well.

“Kent Police officers worked very long hours on Saturday and did an excellent job handling the crowds,” Lewis said.

Arrests made included: 33 for underage drinking, six instances of fake IDs, five open container violations and a bevy of other charges ranging from littering to possession of drugs.

Though an increase of officers on duty was in place Saturday to monitor disturbances, Lewis said the police was still unable to catch everything.

“There could easily have had more (arrests),” Lewis said. “We issued a number of warnings because we couldn’t address every violation.”

Of the 41 arrested, nine were Kent State students and one was a juvenile. 

Lewis said the biggest parties were at fraternities and annex houses along East Main Street and University Drive, houses on Lincoln Street and The Province an apartment complex.

This year, police officers visited several fraternities before guests even arrived and kegs were drained in attempts to nip any potentially rowdy situations in the bud.

“(Officers) spoke with fraternity houses Saturday morning to give precautions and encourage them to be responsible,” Lewis said. 

St. Patrick’s Day has become another alcohol-centric calendar day that falls during the academic year, giving students the excuse to swarm local bars and house parties in masses.

Lewis said the crowds and foot-traffic that occurred on Fake Patty’s Day rivaled the scope of Kent’s infamous Halloween celebration.

Although Lewis believes there will be less parties on Thursday for actual St. Patty’s Day because of classes the next morning and spring break just around the corner, he said the police will not be underestimating the possibility of excessive partying.

“I won’t say (students) got it out of their system,” Lewis said. “There will still probably be some parties later on in the day, but nowhere near what we saw Saturday.”

While most who go out for these drinking holidays write it off as an occasional occurrence, statistics show that college-aged alcohol consumption is reaching increased heights.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about four out of five college students drink alcohol, and half of them consume it through binge-drinking. The NIAAA also estimates 1,825 college students, ages 18 to 24, die each year due to “alcohol-related unintentional injuries.”

Scott Dotterer is a coordinator for the Office of Health Promotion, a department of University Health Services located in the DeWeese Health Center on campus.

“There are many factors that influence alcohol consumption,” Dotterer said. “There may be a number of students who mistakenly believe that heavy drinking is the norm and buy into this behavior.”

On Thursday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Center, the Office of Health Promotion will co-sponsor National Alcohol Screening Day for the 16th year. Free and open to students, faculty and community members, participants will fill out anonymous questionnaires about their alcohol use, and get the opportunity to consult with a Kent State mental health professional about local support and treatment services.

“Those who drink should be aware of the signs and symptoms of chemical dependency and be cognizant of issues and concerns around developing tolerance,” Dotterer said.

While Dotterer feels the best way to steer clear of alcohol-related issues in college is to avoid parties altogether, he recognizes that many students will find themselves at one at some point in their schooling career.

“If they do attend, they should have an exit plan and the ability to be assertive when it comes to refusing a drink,” Dotterer said. “It’s always okay to refuse a drink, but it’s never okay to pressure someone else to drink.”

Benjamin VanHoose is an entertainment reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].