By Zana Smajli, For The Miami Student
Yesterday, Miami students and Oxford community members gathered in Armstrong Student Center Pavilion for a Green Beer Day forum prior to the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration this Thursday.
The event, hosted by Associated Student Government (ASG), National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), discussed safe drinking and common misconceptions about Green Beer Day.
Over 300 students attended the event, which began with a quiz game created by the BACCHUS Network — a university and community-based organization focused on health and safety initiatives — and ended with a question and answer session with both the Oxford Police Department (OPD) and the Miami University Police Department (MUPD).
Kevin Krumpak, ASG secretary for off-campus affairs, started the forum by imploring students to take the discussion seriously and use the tips provided throughout their lives.
“This is information and advice that you should take into your everyday lives — and specifically in Oxford — about how to stay safe in our community,” Krumpak said.
OPD Sergeant Jon Varley provided answers to some common questions surrounding the drinking holiday, including debunking the myth that a green tongue is probable cause to be breathalyzed. Another common misconception is the idea that a fence around a party means police can’t enter the premises.
“[Fencing] doesn’t protect you, all it does is keep your guests from wandering into public areas. But that doesn’t protect you from police,” Varley said.
Varley also warned that OPD may be sending undercover police officers into parties and bars on Thursday.
However, OPD isn’t the only department patrolling on Green Beer Day. MUPD, Butler County Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the township police will all be helping regulate the festivities — over 300 officers in total, according to MUPD Sergeant Susan Tobergte.
Tobergte said anyone hosting a party is responsible for all guests, noting that the trend nationally is to hire professional licensed bartenders that carry liability insurance to protect party hosts.
“When you have a house party, anyone that lives there or is hosting carries civil liability,” Tobergte said. “Whoever is hosting this party needs to realize that they are responsible for who’s drinking and how much they’re drinking.”
Tobergte also warned that showing up to class intoxicated could lead to charges and said that police are less likely to press charges if intoxicated individuals cooperate. While she and the other officers know this is a major celebration for students, it also poses a huge risk. According to BACCHUS, nearly 600,000 college students were recorded to have been injured while under the effects of alcohol last year.
“We know Green Beer Day is a big day here, but please, please, please be responsible drinkers and watch out for your friends,” Tobergte said. “You have the whole week of spring break coming up also, and the same thing goes for that.”
She also warned that court dates for arrests on Green Beer Day would be next Thursday over the university’s spring break.
According to Varley, a party as big as Green Beer Day makes keeping police out next to impossible.
“If the party is open to everybody, it’s open to us.” Varley said.