Berquam: If you attend Mifflin, be safe, smart
May 2, 2012
University of Wisconsin-Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam is hoping students decide to skip the Mifflin Street block party this weekend. But if they do attend, she's suggesting they listen closely to public safety officials and remember that dangerous behavior can have long-lasting consequences.
Berquam says she's spent the past week listening to student feedback about the event, both in person and on Twitter @loriberquam. She's says she's determined to continue the conversation with students about the event because she remains concerned about safety.
"I continue to believe there are many better things our students can do with their Saturday than spend it at an outdoor drinking party," she says. "If anyone needs inspiration, all they have to do is head to the lakes, go to the farmers' market or take a look at our campus events calendar In fact, I've heard that many students are actually deciding not to attend."
"I also understand that some students plan to attend the event, and I respect their right to decide," she says. "My whole goal is seeing students stay safe and going out to do great things in the world."
Students who choose to attend should be aware of several key points, she adds.
It's vitally important that UW-Madison students follow the instructions given by city officials and police officers working to ensure that participants stay safe. Should students be cited for misconduct, the Madison Police Department will report potential cases of student misconduct to the dean of students office, as it always does.
Berquam's office is responsible for investigating student conduct and holding students accountable for their actions under the UW System disciplinary code. Sanctions can have an impact on a student's status at UW-Madison.
Similarly, if the dean of students office is made aware of potential misconduct by students of other UW System or local schools, those schools will be alerted and will investigate accordingly.
Students can also be subject to hefty fines from the legal system. They include: Underage drinking: $177, open intoxicants: $303 and selling alcohol without a permit: $681.
Berquam clarified comments from her online video, which mentioned Mifflin being held on May 5, the date of Cinco de Mayo.
"I'd ask you to honor everyone's right to live and feel safe in the Madison community, including fellow students and campus neighbors," she says. "Mixing Mifflin with ethnic stereotypes related to Cinco de Mayo isn't funny, and is actually offensive to many members of our campus community."
She adds: "If students choose to participate in that weekend's events, I hope that they'll make smart choices and watch out for each other and others. Remember, Badgers are not bystanders."
Other practical suggestions for those deciding to attend the event:
- Go out with friends. Stay in a group and return home with that group. Walk in well-lit areas. Check in with each other throughout the night. Designate a meeting time and place in case you get separated.
- If a friend can't walk home on his or her own or passes out, don't leave your friend alone. Call 911 if you are uncertain of his or her condition.
- Balconies and alcohol don't mix. Always leave a balcony that seems overcrowded.
- If you accept a beverage from someone, make sure that you know the person, you've observed the drink's preparation and that you never leave it unattended. Exercise caution in any public setting with any beverage.
- Remember to wear closed-toed shoes instead of sandals or flip-flops in case there is broken glass on the street.