UIPD advises students to be smart during Unofficial


The Daily Illini File Photo

Police officers patrol around the campus to monitor the students and their Unofficial activities on Friday, March 4, 2016.

By Gillian Dunlop, Staff Writer

The University and Champaign Police Departments have increased rules and regulations in preparation for Unofficial weekend.

Ordinarily, students are allowed into Champaign bars at the age of 19; during Unofficial weekend, however, that age is increased to 21. Regardless, drinking tickets are regularly passed out during this weekend.

According to 2016 Unofficial law enforcement statistics, 160 city ordinance violations were issued last year. This was an increase from the 138 issued in 2015.

Tickets are not given more frequently in any location, but last year 36 tickets were issued for underage drinking at four parties. Three people were arrested on state criminal charges and sent to the Champaign County Jail.

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    There is also usually an increased amount of medical personnel dispatched during Unofficial. Last year, 21 people were taken to the hospital for alcohol related issues, and medical personnel responded to 28 calls for medical service.

    Pat Wade, UIPD spokesman, said students need to remember their rights when interacting with law enforcement officials. The best way to avoid a drinking ticket is to be smart about behavior.

    “It’s very unlikely you’re going to have an interaction with an officer as long as you’re behaving in a way that doesn’t bring attention to you,” Wade said. “We don’t have the time or resources to approach every student.”

    If a student is approached by an officer, Wade said the student should comply with the officer and not resist. He added that the interaction goes more smoothly if there is mutual respect between the officer and student.

    “If an officer gives you a lawful order, you have to obey that order,” Wade said. “Students have a lot of rights and we’re going to allow them to act within those rights.”

    Students are also not allowed to house any non-university persons in the residence halls for the entire weekend.

    “In the past for Unofficial, where we see the most problems are the visitors that hear about unofficial,” Wade said. “They don’t know our rules and they don’t have a whole lot of respect for our campus, so the University as a whole has tried to discourage visitors from coming.”

    Aside from not allowing guests in the residence halls, parking regulations will also be enforced more strictly, according to Wade.

    “Generally, students here are pretty respectful,” Waidsaid.

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