KSUPD offers tips to stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day

Maura Zurick

The Kent State University Police Department does not anticipate many on-campus problems during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities but still encourages students’ safety.

“Don’t just put a drunk friend or roommate in the shower and think it will help,” said Michquel Penn, community resource officer. “Call the police and get help. Alcohol poisoning is serious — you can die from it.”

Penn said the most common incidents on campus during St. Patrick’s Day are requests for a rescue squad for students who consumed too much alcohol and other alcohol violations such as underage drinking. She said drinking all day is overloading the body with alcohol and dehydrating it and it can potentially put a person on a coma.

“I hope students have a good time but also remember the consequences of drinking too much.” Michquel Penn

“Students need to know their limits and not become so impaired that they cannot control their actions,” Penn said. “Students need to eat and drink water. Another important thing that students need to be aware of is the signs and symptoms alcohol poisoning so they can get help.”

Kent State University Residence Services’ Hallways Handbook adopted the “Good Samaritan Provision,” which stresses the importance of good decision-making, such as calling 911 when students are intoxicated.

“With the implementation of the ‘Good Samaritan Policy’ the KSUPD is able to work with Residence Services in helping students,” Penn said. “This policy allows students to call for help when a person is highly intoxicated. If students call for help, they won’t have to be afraid of legal or university actions.”

She said traditionally the Kent State University Police Department does not have many problems on campus during St. Patrick’s Day and they will not alter patrol coverage.

“According to the current schedule, seven officers will be working the day shift from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. (Thursday),” Penn said. “The bars are opening at 5:30 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Penn said although campus and city police departments work together during big events and holidays, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in past years have not dictated a need for the two departments to collaborate. She said mutual aid exists between the departments if a need arises.

Penn said students need to be responsible and not drink and drive, and students who are walking downtown need to be alert for drunken drivers.

Penn said other violations that occur on campus are disorderly conduct and public intoxication; this could be something like vomiting in a dorm hall bathroom. She said to be aware of the laws as stated in the Ohio Revised Code.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, someone intoxicated in a public place or with more than two people present can face more serious legal consequences if he or she fights, says offensive comments, harms or annoys other people or causes alarm.

However, if the person is not intoxicated, the legal consequences are different because the person should be more aware the effect he or she is having on others. A person should not create or partake in a condition that could potentially harm to oneself or another person or a person’s property, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

“Disorderly conduct is a serious offense,” Penn said. “It encompasses many different types of illegal violations, like fighting and destruction of property. Not only can you be arrested, but you can face a trial, a fine or community service.”

Penn said with nice weather on St. Patrick’s Day, she hopes students will enjoy themselves but be responsible.

“The KSUPD is always here to help and make sure students are safe,” Penn said. “I hope students have a good time but also remember the consequences of drinking too much.”

Contact Maura Zurick at [email protected].