Indiana and surrounding area members, along with university officials, met Monday to discuss ways the town can prepare for IUP students’ St. Patrick’s Day celebration, “IUPatty’s.”
The holiday has caused nuisances and raised concerns in the past with excessive drinking, noise and even deaths.
Law enforcement, IUP administration, landlords and townspeople participated in the Indiana Area Collaborative Team (I-ACT) stakeholder’s meeting at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex and proposed ways they hope to keep the chaos to a minimum.
IUP President Michael Driscoll emphasized the group effort needed to handle the festivities.
“It takes all of us working together,” Driscoll said as a way in which the community can help keep people safe.
He added that he is “looking forward to a foot of snow.”
While Indiana already got snow during the week, meeting members chuckled, and many separately commented that they hoped at least for rain.
On the university side, the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association held a “Party Smart” workshop Wednesday, open to all students, to encourage responsible celebrating for those who choose to go out.
Administration introduced a new “IUP Leads” campaign to get out messages of safe fun.
They are offering up to $250 in awards for student organizations who participate.
Robin Gorman, executive assistant to the president of government and community relations, reiterated a message that was a common theme in the meeting.
“We’re not telling you, you can’t have fun,” she said. “But you need to do it responsibly and respect other people’s property.”
Student Government Association President Brian Swatt suggested that students are not the cause of all the problems associated with this weekend.
“Students are not the primary wrongdoers,” he said.
He also pointed out that IUP is a college town and “celebratory events will happen,” but students are still expected to respect the area.
Swatt said he hopes for a more positive outcome for this year, however, than previous years.
From the community side, Dana Turgeon, interim Indiana Borough manager, urged to spread the word from landlords to tenants that they should call the office or the police if a party gets out of hand.
Landlords have an agreement with theirs tenants as to how many visitors are allowed in the rental unit. Turgeon said it is the tenant’s responsibility to get a hold of the situation.
Tenants are to identify themselves as the tenant of the unit in the call in order to take control. If not, police can show up later in response to an outside complaint, and the tenant could be issued a citation.
State, university, borough and neighboring towns’ police have increased staffing for the weekend and will have an obvious presence.
The meeting members were also warned that if there is cocaine in the area, there have been reports of dealers in Western Pennsylvania lacing cocaine with fentanyl.