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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Only In The Twilight Zone: A ‘Symbolic’ Blue-White Bill

So, according to The Daily Collegian, this past weekend’s Blue-White game festivities ended up resulting in a sharp spike in crime across the borough. The State College Police Department fielded hundreds of calls over the course of the first major football-related weekend of the year.

Weekend Sees Increase In Local Crime, Accidents (TDC) — Visitors flooding into town for Blue-White weekend saw more than just a football game — they also saw a dramatic spike in crime.

The State College Police Department reported 327 calls this Saturday, about 200 more than the usual 80. The calls, three times more than the 121 police received during this year’s State Patty’s Day weekend, yielded several arrests for assault, DUI and other offenses.

How will the leadership of the State College Borough react to this news? Blue-White weekend is a beloved tradition and integral part of the football culture at Penn State, and the rise in crime is largely due to a combination of thousands of visiting alumni and friends along with massive amounts of alcohol.

Earlier this semester, thousands of alumni and students celebrated another, younger, tradition in State Patty’s Day. While Blue-White weekend and its resulting spike in crime from visiting alumni is apparently accepted as a matter of course for the State College Borough Council, State Patty’s Day and student celebration that results in a minor increase in crime was cause for alarm and disdain.

Of course, it would be absurd for Mayor Bill Welch to talk about handing Penn Staters an invoice for the increased police costs of Blue-White weekend, because the town benefited enormously from the massive influx of visitors and consumers, not to mention the revenue from the cost of hundreds of police citations.

Flashback about a month ago to the reactions of State College Mayor Bill Welch after State Patty’s Day caused a modest increase in emergency calls. (State Patty’s resulted in 121 calls, while a standard weekend in Happy Valley of roughly 80 calls.) Mr. Welch’s reaction was to lambast the holiday’s student organizers and suggest that the borough was financially traumatized by the festivities.

State Patty’s Day Costs $6,100 In OT (Centre Daily Times) March 7, 2008 — The faux St. Patrick’s Day celebration that swept the downtown on Saturday will cost borough taxpayers at least $6,100.

That’s how much the borough will shell out in overtime pay to police who tried to tame the daylong ruckus. The figure, released Thursday by Police Chief Tom King, covers the extra time that police worked from 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday. Police supervisors increased staffing about 50 percent for the day.

And while a key student organizer said the alcohol-driven event proved itself a smashing success, borough officials were stern and critical in their assessment. Mayor Bill Welch suggested that the borough should bill the event promoters for the police overtime, “even if only symbolically.” At a Monday council meeting, he called the whole ordeal “a dumb idea.”

If the police overtime cost for State Patty’s Day was $6,100 for the taxpayers of State College (with only 121 emergency calls made over the weekend) I have to wonder how much this past Blue-White weekend cost the borough with 327 emergency calls made over an equivalent 48 hour period.

“If only symbollically,” by Mayor Welch’s logic, doesn’t it follow that the borough would issue a similar “bill” for the cost of police overtime, in this case to the Penn State Athletic Department?

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Uh oh. Administration and Mayor alike have been disproved by FACTS. Better not have too much of it, they might start calling libel or slander or the like.

On the other hand, I would absolutely LOVE to see Billy “Mouth of Sauron” Mahon handling the PR if the borough tried to bill the University.

Huh, now imagine that? Funny that I distinctly remember citing Blue-White as an event that was almost identical in nature to State Patty’s (in terms of drinking culture, visiting alums, etc), and that the administration/borough would have no problem with the costs associated with Blue-White. Did the collegian print that? No, of course not, because that would be a shot at the admins, and we all know what happens when you do that. Then again, what ever happened to the pursuit of non-biased reporting? I guess we can’t rely on the Daily Collegian for that.

I hope this puts some things in perspective. 3 times the crime during a university sanctioned event than State Patty’s. Now who looks silly?

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