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Saturday, Jul 26, 2014

A Few Clouds, 64 °F

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Student to student: Be smart this fest season


Springtime in Athens has become synonymous with Fest season. Though fests typically held in May under the quarter system, the semester schedule shows no signs of holding down the parties.

Unlike the annual Halloween festivities, which are sanctioned by the City of Athens, fests are completely student organized and have no direct affiliation with Ohio University. That does not mean that the University community turns a blind eye to what happens with OHIO students off campus.

With Mill Fest officially kicking off Fest season this Saturday, some OHIO students offer their tips to ensure safety during Fest season.

Don’t bug or harass the cops. The number of officers patrolling will increase dramatically on fest days. Officers on horses and on foot patrol, undercover agents, surveillance and SWAT team members will be present and their main goal is to keep everyone out of harm’s way. Their actions are aimed to keep you safe. Not complying with orders can lead to injury, arrest or expulsion from Ohio University. Ask for permission before petting police horses. Not doing so can lead to assault on an officer charges.

Take responsibility for actions on your property. Make sure everyone who drinks on your property is 21 or over. Don’t supply alcohol to partygoers under 21 because you and the minors can be arrested. Also, secure valuables in your room and lock your bedroom door to avoid theft and vandalism.

Be a friend: Make sure guests are aware of local laws. Many of those arrested during fest season are not OHIO students, but rather their visitors. Actions that can lead to arrest include open container violations and throwing objects beyond the bounds of your property. Let guests use your restroom in order to avoid indecent exposure charges.

Keep it down. Keep noise to an acceptable level at all times and turn off music by 10 p.m. on weekdays and by midnight on weekends. Otherwise, you are subject to a noise ordinance violation.

It’s your party—you are in control. If any guests become belligerent or aggressive, ask them to leave. Call the police if necessary. If you don't know someone at your party and/or they refuse to leave, call 911.

Be a considerate partygoer.
Respect the property, residents and house where you are by complying with local laws and house rules. Stay off house roofs at parties, don’t light anything on fire (including furniture) and go to parties only where you know the host.

Don't drink on the sidewalk or street. Keep drinks on the property—drinking on the sidewalks or in the street can lead to open container violations.

Call 911 in the event of an alcohol emergency. Alcohol poisoning and dehydration are serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.

Dress comfortably and for the weather. Don’t wear flip-flops, because there will be broken bottles and other debris. If it’s hot and sunny, drink plenty of water and stay in the shade to avoid dehydration.

Don't go to a party alone or walk home alone. Stay with a buddy to ensure safety. Carry your state ID and OHIO student ID with you at all times. Call a cab service and NEVER drive under the influence of alcohol.

What happens in Athens lives forever online. What you post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google can be found by anyone—including family members and potential employers—despite privacy settings. Save your pictures on a storage device such as a flash drive, and share the images and video on your personal computer.

Show Bobcat pride. Remember that you are an Ohio University student. Your actions can have serious consequences that reflect upon yourself and your school.

Legal help for students

If you find yourself in legal trouble following your fest season activities, here are some helpful resources.

Student Legal Services is a nonprofit law office funded by student fees.
50 South Court Street Suite D
(740) 594-8093

Students Defending Students is a program of Student Senate.
Baker University Center 305C
(740) 593-4045