Last year, more than 20 establishments in downtown State College altered their hours and rules regarding distribution of alcohol in order to curb the problems surrounding State Patty’s Day. In the end, authorities still made 296 arrests. That was a decrease of 13 percent from the year before.
Now, 34 businesses plan to be alcohol-free on February 23. If history is to repeat itself, which it so often does, this prohibition will result in less arrests, but the same irresponsibility by a few will polarize a tradition many wish to celebrate. More police will still be taken away from their normal duties, and hospitals around the area will see a spike in alcohol-related visits.
The quasi-draconian initiatives by the State College community have been answered continuously through faceless blogs, status updates and tweets that engulf so many people’s lives today. Penn State students are enlightened, intelligent and responsible, as evidenced by the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon year after year. Let them show it again.
Allow debate and dialogue to fuel the discussion we read about regarding State Patty’s Day, not rebellion following enforcement. Results will only come when both sides understand each other. It took the United States nearly 13 years to realize prohibition was a bad idea; let’s hope our Penn State community doesn’t take as long.
Class of 2011