Halloween marks the beginning of holiday season celebrations for many Americans, but students at UAA might want to rethink their celebrating habits this year.
Officer Katie Paakki, the housing officer for UPD, said the Alaska Pacific University sign at the corner of Providence Drive and Tudor Road has been set on fire over the last several Halloweens, and UAA had some major problems with underage drinking last year.
“It was crazy last year,” Paakki said. “We had three times as many calls for minors consuming alcohol than we did in 2003.”
An increase in underage drinking in 2004 accounted for over 60 percent of all campus crime. The majority of which occurred at the start of the fall semester, according to statistics provided by UPD.
Paakki remembered one Halloween party in 2004 where students turned violent.
“Last year there was a party that was out of control in MAC housing,” she said. “Six officers responded, and three students were taken to jail. They were charging at the responding officers with clenched fists.”
Dawn Dooley, the director of the department of residence life, said Halloween has not been a major housing problem in the past, and is unsure what brought about the spikes at the beginning of the fall semester this year and in 2004.
“The policies are the same, the training for the RA’s is the same,” she said. “We focus on the signs of alcohol intoxication and the procedures to address those concerns.”
Overall, minors cited consuming alcohol at UAA rose 116 percent in 2004 when compared with 2003, with a total of 229 instances.
Dooley said legal-age students are allowed 144 ounces of beer, which is a 12-pack, or 750ml of other alcohol in campus housing. Four residence advisors, on duty overnight, enforce the policies with the assistance of peer mentors.
“They will be doing their standard rounds and checking on reported policy violations,” she said.
Since the beginning of October, alcohol violations have significantly decreased. She attributed the spike at the start of the semester to students moving away from home and the 500-600 first-year students that move into housing each year.
“After a month or two, people begin to realize the standards and that they need to act responsibly,” she said.
Lt. Paul Honeman, director of public affairs for the APD, said the city sees a small increase in drunk driving on Halloween because of people out at parties, but the department holds off on bolstering its force until the busy season for DUI’s, which is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
“We might see some upswing in drinking and driving around Halloween, but it hasn’t been a major problem in the past,” he said.
After Thanksgiving, when DUI’s pick up, the municipality will use a grant from the Highway Safety Transportation Administration, allowing police to strengthen their numbers for the holiday season.
“We see more mischievous acts, people with juvenile mindsets getting into mischief,” he said about Halloween. “Other than that, most activity is standard to what we see year-round.” Honeman said. “We want to urge people to have a good time, go to the party, but be responsible and get a designated driver.”
Lt. Annie Endecott of UPD said she is not overly concerned about a spike in drunk driving this Halloween.
“We usually get between one and three DUI’s per weekend, and we’ll be on the watch over Halloween,” she said.
The department will have five of its 14 officers on duty for Halloween, which is what it would normally have on a Monday night. On weekends, UPD generally has seven overnight officers on duty.
Endecott said if things get too out of control, APD is just a phone call away.
“We try to help them out off-campus,” she said, “and they can come to back us up if things get out of control.”