Contemplating the correlation between lax police, leisurely drinking

Julianna Eveland

College: The open gate to the world of parties and drinking. The emerging freedom from sheltered wings of the family home.

The only thing that could get in the way of that freedom is the police, right?

The weekday parties, crazy “ragers” and the police’s lax attitude toward it all surprised me when I first came to Chico in 2011.

I knew Chico had a “party scene” reputation but the fact that I could go downtown from my Craig Hall dormitory and stumble upon a party right away shocked me.

Officers wade through seas of students with watchful eyes, but their presence seems to have little effect on surrounding students.

Of course, there is the weekend supervision from the Chico Police and stricter enforcement on holidays. But mostly, they shine their lights, push through crowds of tipsy college students and tell us to go elsewhere.

So I thought, is the permissive attitude of weekend officers enabling students’ “the party never stops” attitude? Is the lack of DUI checkpoints perpetuating drinking and driving?

I had to find out if there were connections between college drinking and laid-back law enforcement.

I turned to Facbeook for the answers.

I posted on a private Facebook group of my high school friends and asked them about the party culture and police at their universities.

Four people from four different universities in North America answered: Colorado College in Colorado, Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, University of Arizona in Arizona and Acadia University in Nova Scotia.

The Orion: What are parties like at your university?

Colorado: We have tons of house parties. They get shut down really fast during the week but on weekends they do all right.

SCAD: Our school is super small so if one party gets shut down it’s onto the next one.

Arizona: Pool parties get up to like 2,000 people but the cops usually leave them alone or stand outside waiting to see if people get into fights and what not.

Acadia: Parties always get shut down if they’re too loud, pretty lame. Then the house parties lead to the bars.

The Orion: What are police like at your university?

Colorado: Our campus safety officers often give drunk people rides and are super friendly or chatty no matter how messed up you are. The cops are different but will usually just go after the owners of the party house, not the rest of the kids.

SCAD: MIPs and other such convictions usually happen if the cop is an asshole or the person getting arrested was being an asshole. Otherwise, most of the time they will leave you alonebut on St. Patty’s Day they ID everyone. MIPs to all the underage!

Arizona: If they get a noise complaint police will come in and tell everyone to leave then issue a “redtag” on the house. A redtag is basically a fine and a warning for excessive noise, which lasts about 3 or 4 months.

After reading these responses, I saw a pattern. It was actualy more like an uncanny resemblance.

I wanted to find out if there were connections between college drinking and laid-back law enforcement. It turns out there really aren’t.

Students act rowdy and drink too much, but it’s not the cops’ cool, calm and collected way of handling weekends that causes it. It’s their job to serve and protect, not to monitor every stupid drunken stumble or shut down every party.

Julianna Eveland can be reached at [email protected] or @janeca12 on Twitter.