With downtown State College bars and taverns either limiting the sale of alcohol or closing their doors entirely for State Patty’s Day, State College Police Chief Tom King said there will be a heavier police presence in apartment buildings and the surrounding neighborhoods where student rental houses are located.
King said that uniformed and plain clothed officers will be vigilant in patrolling the high-rise apartment buildings and neighborhoods adjacent to downtown and campus, and that they will be mainly looking for students drinking underage and individuals furnishing alcohol to minors.
King said he, along with Senior Director of the Penn State Office of Student Council Danny Shaha, sent a letter to all high-rise apartment buildings and other apartment buildings downtown Tuesday asking for their assistance and cooperation this coming weekend.
“Based on data for past year’s State Patty’s Days, many who engage in excessive drinking are from out of town but are visiting many students and other residents living in State College,” the letter states. “As a result, we have had many problems with the number and severity of alcohol violations, noise complaints, vandalism, and fights in apartment buildings.”
The letter was forwarded to residents in those buildings and lists some ways in which residents can help “keep this weekend safe and peaceful.”
The letter suggests for tenants to not invite guests to their apartment or house this weekend, prevent guests from yelling or throwing items off of balconies, not permit anyone less than 21 years of age to consume alcohol at their apartment or house, not serve large quantities of alcohol at their apartment or house, keep music and noise levels at a reasonable volume and ensure the exterior of their property is free of litter or trash such as red cups, beer cans and food containers.
In addition to police officers patrolling the apartment hallways, many rental property owners or managers will also have extra staff patrolling the apartment hallways, according to the letter.
According to the letter, police are also partnering with Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct this weekend. Any Penn State student who is charged with any criminal violation will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and may face disciplinary action from the university, according to the letter.
“Because Penn State’s Code of Conduct applies off campus as well as on campus, OSC will pursue appropriate disciplinary actions with students are arrested or cited during this weekend,” the letter states.
King said he plans on sending the this same letter to every rental property owner in the borough, which he said comes close to almost 10,000 rental units. King said he hopes that landlords will check on their rental properties over the weekend and call police if they see any violations occurring at their property.
In addition, at least eight downtown State College bars will close on Saturday for State Patty’s Day, various owners and managers of the businesses said Tuesday.
Café 210 West, 210 W. College Ave.; The Saloon, 101 Heister St.; Inferno Brick Oven and Bar, 340 E. College Ave.; bar bleu, 114 S. Garner St.; The Hopstop Beer Market, 117 Heister St.; Brewsky’s Bottle Shop at The Day’s Inn Penn State, 240 S. Pugh St.; The Darkhorse Tavern, 128 E. College Ave. and Duo, 129 S. Pugh St.,will be closed Saturday, according to their respective managers.
Café 210 West co-owner J.R. Mangan said he is not happy that his business will be closed Saturday, but said that it wouldn’t be beneficial to remain open on that day.
“It’s just not worth it to be open because of the liabilities and pressure from the community,” Mangan said. “I’m not happy that it’s come down to this. I’d just like to be able to do my job.”
While some businesses will be closed, some will remain open and serve food only, according to various managers downtown.
Even though Mad Mex, 240 S. Pugh St., will be open and serving food on State Patty’s Day, Mad Mex General Manager Molly Wisniewski estimated that the business will lose about $10,000 in profit on Saturday alone by not serving alcohol.
The Partnership: Campus & Community United Against Dangerous Drinking, a collection of university and local leaders, announced Tuesday that 34 local State College businesses will not serve or sell alcohol on Saturday.
Those 34 businesses that are in support of the “alcohol-free zone” have been provided a $5,000 subsidy by the Partnership in anticipation of revenue losses on Saturday, according to a press release issued by Penn State News on Tuesday.
Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, co-chairman of the partnership and vice president for student affairs, said in a media release that the money will come from parking fees from previous State Patty's weekends. Parking officials have kept track of the revenue and directed it to the partnership.
Though there wasn’t really a “science” to deciding on the amount of the subsidy, this amount seemed “acceptable across the board,” State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said.
Even with this subsidy, Fountaine said that some of the businesses will be hit harder than others.
“This seemed like an opportunity that everyone could agree on,” Fountaine said.
Penn State student Barry Veet said via email that closing bars will not stop people from drinking, but instead it will make people drink in the presence of minors. Veet (senior-communication sciences and disorders) said some people might even drink more because they will not be paying for “overpriced” drinks at the bars.
“I almost see more harm than good and it takes away from responsible drinkers,” Veet said.
Brewsky’s Bottle Shop, 222 W. Beaver Ave., will also be closed on Saturday but open until then, employee Nathan Roberts said. Beer Belly’s Beverage, 258 W. Hamilton Ave., and Nittany Beverage Co., 139 N. Patterson St., could not provide comment as of press time Tuesday.
In addition to the State College Police Department, Penn State Police, Pennsylvania State Police and all the local police departments in Centre County patrolling the downtown area, Liquor Enforcement Officers from the Altoona, Williamsport and Harrisburg offices will also aid in enforcement, King said.
The Liquor Enforcement Officers will be responsible for enforcing liquor laws, which will include, but are not limited to, the purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages, according to a press release issued by the Pennsylvania State Police Department.
The Liquor Enforcement Officers will also enforce public drunkenness and similar misconduct, carrying a false identification card and selling or furnishing of malt or brewed beverages to minors, according to the release.
Although State Patty’s Day is on Saturday, King said students should expect a heavy police presence downtown throughout the entire weekend, starting on Friday at about 6 p.m. and ending on Sunday at about 6 a.m.
“I’m hopeful that State Patty’s Day as we know it will go away,” King said. “Hopefully next year there can be something healthier for students, non-students and the community to do in its place.”
Collegian staff writer Sam Janesch and Collegian Candidate Brooke Owen contributed to this report.