Faculty get tips for discouraging 'State Patty's Day' participation

In anticipation of "State Patty's Day," an event largely based on the consumption of alcohol, the Penn State University Faculty Senate Student Life Committee, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims and Faculty Senate Chair Dan Hagen have released the following informational statement for faculty to contribute to discouraging participation.

What can faculty do to say "No" to State Patty's Day?

State Patty’s Day is an event intended to involve consumption of alcoholic beverages. It was first organized by Penn State students in 2007 and has been held annually each spring since then. This year, the event is scheduled for Feb. 25. This event attracts thousands of participants, both students and nonstudents, from across the Commonwealth and beyond. The event has become a source of considerable physical harm and embarrassment for Penn State and the State College community. The financial impact of physical and property damage, arrests and ambulance runs, costs to local government and the university, and damage to the university’s reputation is difficult to calculate, but undeniably considerable.

This year’s State Patty’s Day will likely cause further damage to the University’s reputation and will accrue negative publicity for the University, under public spotlight since early November 2011. We recognize that students and leaders of the University and Borough, as well as other agencies and jurisdictions, continue to be deeply engaged in developing and promoting alternative activities on that day, designed to ameliorate the damage done by State Patty’s Day. These activities include efforts to expand and mobilize the law enforcement presence in the State College area that weekend, alternative service activities for students that day, increased presence of local community members in the downtown area, encouragement of tavern owners and other downtown businesses to discourage participation in State Patty’s Day, and much more.

We urge faculty members to help in these efforts by becoming aware of and promoting the alternative activities planned for that day, by holding all scheduled classes the day before and the day after that weekend, and by contributing in other ways. Laurie Mulvey and Sam Richards, lecturers in the Penn State Department of Sociology and directors of the World in Conversation Project, for example, have a thoughtful guest column in the Daily Collegian (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2012/02/10/say_no_to_state_pattys_day.aspx).

Faculty members who are interested in helping are encouraged to contact Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs at dsims@psu.edu; Careen Yarnal, chair of the Student Life Committee, at cmy122@psu.edu; or Dan Hagen, chair of the Faculty Senate, at drh@psu.edu, to learn about other opportunities to assist.

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Last Updated February 19, 2013