Students gathered today on Penn’s College Green to protest the university’s increasingly stringent security measures. The demonstration coincides with this weekend’s “Spring Fling,” a traditional party weekend at Penn where students de-stress to the tune of on-campus concerts and parties.
Since last year, the Penn Department of Public Safety (DPS) has partnered with the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) to police underage drinking during on-campus parties. Tactics include undercover patrolling, where BLCE officers are given student IDs to infiltrate student spaces in order to monitor underage drinking. DPS and BLCE have announced that any student hosting parties where alcohol is served to minors “will be taken in handcuffs.”
Many students feel that the school is interfering with on-campus activities without student input. “This is the biggest cultural event of the year for us, and they are doing this without any student input,” said Dominic Watson, a junior at Penn.
Others who were present at the “Free Fling” demonstrations today find this policy counter-intuitive. “All Penn students work extremely hard and this is the one celebratory event to let loose and not be super stressed out,” said sophomore Erica Nicokiris. “Now everyone will be paranoid ’cause of all the undercover cops.”
More than 1,400 students had registered for today’s “Free Fling” event on Facebook. The actual attendance was significantly smaller.