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State College Police Issue Annual State Patty’s Warning

The State College Police Department released its annual warning surrounding the “challenge” that comes “the weekend between THON and Spring Break” — even though Penn State’s spring break was canceled long ago.

If you’re a freshman or someone who’s been living under a rock throughout your Penn State career, we’re talking about State Patty’s.

According to police, the student-created holiday peaked in 2011 when “crime and alcohol overdoses were at their worst,” but conditions have improved “significantly” since 2012. Last year, police reported 124 individual crimes over the weekend — just three more than the record-low set in 2019.

In the years since that 2011 peak, Penn State and State College Police, as well as the university, have worked together to tame State Patty’s celebrations. They’ve added more police patrols, limited the number of on-campus guests in residence halls, and even paid bars to close in 2014.

In a press release provided to some borough apartment tenants Tuesday, the department asked students and townies to keep the weekend “safe and peaceful” — especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. To help, it provided a list of safety tips, including guidance according to the borough’s mask-wearing ordinance.

“We are advising you of these concerns now, with hopes that you will restrict visitors to your apartment or homes this weekend and join your friends and neighbors in helping maintain a safe and peaceful atmosphere throughout the weekend,” State College and Penn State officials said in a joint statement.

The department said it’ll provide a “substantial police presence” over the weekend and continue enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing. Additionally, police said they’ll work with rental property managers to patrol apartment hallways and check for rule-breaking gatherings, underage drinking, and other related offenses.

Additionally, according to the department’s release, any Penn State student charged with criminal violations will be referred to the university’s Office of Student Conduct, which can enforce regulations both on and off campus. The office could then pursue “appropriate disciplinary actions” against students for guideline violations.

“This year we are not only concerned about the typical unruliness and dangerous behavior associated with State Patty’s Day, but we also have a pandemic to contend with, which makes the behaviors associated with this weekend even more dangerous than in a typical year,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said in a release. “We must all do our part to keep our community safe from both COVID-19 and the recklessness associated with this troublesome annual event.” 

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]

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