With another Spring Fling upon us, students may again wonder how Campus Safety will be interacting with students throughout the day. The Free Press spoke with Director of Campus Safety Jim Hamrick about what students can expect from Campus Safety, and how they can avoid having any trouble.
Hamrick noted that further information could be found in the email sent out by Campus Safety regarding Spring Fling, and that Campus Safety officers would be going around before the official start of events at 11 a.m. to speak with students in apartments about how to keep their activities safe and keep themselves out of trouble.
During Spring Fling, any individual who is 21 or older will be allowed to drink, if they keep the drink in a closed container when outside. Open beer bottles/cans, open wine bottles, or open liquor bottles are not allowed to be carried outside. To keep out of trouble, the best option for students is to be discreet.
“The bottom line is if someone’s being discreet and it’s not obvious to us that it’s an open container,” said Hamrick, “and there’s not any kind of behavior that’s going to draw our attention that is disorderly or disruptive or illegal, risky behavior that may put the person or other persons at risk, we’re going to let people just enjoy the day.”
Hamrick also noted that the goal of Campus Safety will not be to punish students, but rather to head off issues before they happen, by talking to visibly drunk and/or belligerent students and suggesting when it might be prudent to call it quits.
“If we seen an individual for instance, who we know for sure is probably underage, but has been seen carrying a sports bottle around all day and later in the afternoon that individual is beginning to show some obvious signs of intoxication and/or starting to become disorderly” said Hamrick, “then that person can expect that one of our officers is going to approach him/her and say…it’s time to be done for the day.”
Hamrick also noted that underage drinking and providing alcohol to underage students will still not be tolerated, whether in an open or closed container.
Hamrick noted that during the day standard party sound limits will not be as strictly enforced, and that, if there are no complaints from neighbors on Penn Ave and the Westminster community and the noise levels are reasonable, Campus Safety will not be being strict on noise levels. Once night falls, standard nighttime noise levels will be enforced as usual by Campus Safety and RAs.
Director Hamrick noted that there is currently no set time at which students will be asked to leave the North Village Quad and return to their apartments.
“Honestly, it’s going to be the assessment and the determination of the ranking supervisor or commander that is on site. That’ll be evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” said Hamrick, “unless there are large gatherings of people that are maybe showing signs of intoxication and accompanied by disorderly behavior, by-and-large we’re just going to let people hang out. We’re not going to be saying ‘no you have to clear out,’ unless there is a reason, unless we’ve been given a reason.”
He did note that this year OSE would be ending official festivities at 3 p.m., instead of hosting night time activities as they had in previous years, which could change when students would be active.
As for night time activities on Saturday night, Hamrick stated that it will be handled like any other Saturday night on campus. He did say that the Campus Safety presence in the North Village area will still be large.
As for Quad occupancy at night, Hamrick noted that as long as individuals were gathering in an small and orderly manner, then Campus Safety would allow them to stay.
“You know outside, we’ve got nothing against people having gatherings outside, but when it becomes so large or too unruly, then we’ve got to tell people to move along,” said Hamrick, though he did note that, “we’re going to be more sensitive to noise levels at night.”
Hamrick noted that while students who leave campus to party will be outside of the jurisdiction of Campus Safety, that they will still be held accountable if they engage in any activities that are illegal or prohibited by the school.
“If there are off campus residents who decide to have parties related to Spring Fling, the same rules are basically going to apply, but it’s going to be enforced by Westminster Police,” Hamrick said, “and I can tell you that Westminster Police generally puts out additional patrols on that day, and have worked with us at making us aware at those moments when they are getting calls in for those residences.”