State Patty’s Day Bar Closures to be Discussed at Joint Meeting
A joint meeting between downtown bar owners and the Student Alcohol Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be held tomorrow to discuss, in part, bar closures on State Patty’s Day, several sources have confirmed.
“The Student Alcohol Advisory Committee asked to meet with representatives of the Tavern Owners Association to discuss State Patty’s Day — perhaps other issues, too,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said. “I believe about a dozen students plan to participate in the meeting along with at least three tavern owners.”
Last year, Penn State paid each bar, tavern, and restaurant $5,000 to not serve alcohol on State Patty’s Day. According to Sims, this money came out of excess revenue from the increased use of campus parking decks during previous State Patty’s Days — not tuition, state support, or private gift dollars. Sims said he helped organize and will be at the meeting only in the beginning to make introductions and will not participate in the discussion.
Sims also left open the idea of paying the bars to close again.
“The University is certainly supportive of trying to do all we can once more to bring an end to this troubling event, including some version of last year’s initiative,” Sims said. “I’ll be eager to learn what, if anything, results from tomorrow’s conversation.”
It won’t happen without a fight, though. UPUA Chairman Anthony Panichelli says he will advocate against closing the bars this year, and cited UPUA Resolution 10-08, which states, in part: “The undergraduate student body at University Park…with respect to State Patty’s Day, believes that legal adults should be able to participate in legal activities regardless of the day.”
“Vice President Brenden Dooley will represent the undergraduate student body and the UPUA at the joint meeting tomorrow between the Student Alcohol Advisory Committee and [representatives from] the Tavern Association,” Panichelli said. “I agree with and stand by the decision of [UPUA] and feel that [closing the bars] is a poor use of University resources that are desperately needed in other areas, such as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Club Sports.”
Tavern Owners Association President Jennifer Zangrilli confirmed that there would be a meeting tomorrow, although she would not specify what type of meeting or comment further. The meeting is not open to the public.
Despite my noted opposition (which still stands), bar closures last year probably at least had something to do with the drastically decreased crime numbers. Every destructive category saw a decrease from the previous year, including citations from the State College Police Department (138 from 225) and the Penn State Police Department (46 down from 108). Hospital visits were also down from 54 to 43.