University students remind peers to avoid alcohol-related problems

Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong and student leaders from UNL, Nebraska Wesleyan University, and Southeast Community College gathered earlier this week to send a message reminding students that many alcohol-related problems can be eliminated with a little advance planning.

In a campaign titled “Fail to plan, plan to fail,” student leaders from these institutions reinforce the collaboration between the campuses and the city, educate students about the consequences for wild parties, DWI and game day intoxication, and encourage students to adopt practices that keep them safe from alcohol-related harm.

Chief Peschong reminded citizens that the Lincoln Police Department actively enforces the municipal codes of the City of Lincoln to ensure a strong quality of life for all its residents. The Lincoln Police Department’s “Party Patrol” patrols neighborhoods on weekends, visiting gatherings that cause complaints from surrounding neighbors.

Peschong outlined the consequences for hosting parties that become out of control, driving while intoxicated, or irresponsible game day drinking:

• Failure to control the noise or disruptive guest behavior can result in one of several citations ranging from “Disturbing the Peace” to “Maintaining a Disorderly House.” A first offense for this citation will result in a fine of $250-$500. Penalties for Multiple Disorderly House citations include mandatory jail time and a fine of up to $500. In 2007, the Nebraska State Legislature passed the “social host” law which holds anyone serving alcohol to a minor in their home or property under their control civilly liable for people suffering any damages as a result of that sale to a minor or providing alcohol to a minor in a social setting.

• The majority of DUI offenders report they had their last drink in a private home versus a bar or restaurant. The consequences for driving under the influence are a fine of $400-$500, 7-60 days in jail, possible probation and revocation of your license until an ignition interlock system is installed in your car.

• Intoxicated fans will be denied entry into Memorial Stadium and their tickets confiscated.

Students planning neighborhood parties should follow several simple steps to avoid having a party get out of control:
• limit the number of people that are invited,
• only allow people they know into the party,
• do not allow guests to park illegally,
• keep the noise down and the party inside,
• get to know the neighbors and talk through any potential problems.
• Take turns serving as the designated driver, call for a taxi or use the ride service available to UNL and Nebraska Wesleyan students.

“Students host and attend plenty of parties throughout the year that never result in a police visit, much less a citation,” said Phil Bakken, Nebraska Wesleyan student body president, “We want to make sure we’re doing our part by letting students know the consequences and ways to stay safe by planning ahead.”

The news event is an annual activity of the Lincoln College Partnership, which brings the city of Lincoln and its major universities and colleges together to solve the problem of disruptive house parties. It is part of the NU Directions Coalition.