Cal Poly police cite 43 during pre-school festivities

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the number of arrests and citations that the San Luis Obispo Police Department has made since Sept. 10. The department had 95 citations and 30 arrests from Sept. 10 through Monday.

Cal Poly campus police cited 43 young people and arrested 42 more from dorm move-in day on Sept. 12 through Monday, according to university police Chief Bill Watton.

Fifty-five percent of the 85 cited or arrested were Cal Poly students, Watton said. The rest did not attend the university.

The campus police made arrests on campus and nearby through that time period, Watton said. He said the majority of the arrests were for public intoxication, while the majority of the citations were for things such as minors in possession of alcohol.

Each year, the university reviews how the orientation and opening of classes went, and officials say they’ll do so again this year.

Sometimes, Watton said, a single citation would lead to others or arrests. He said one involved an officer writing up one student for minor in possession, when his roommate came out to complain carrying a beer.

“This kid’s roommate was also holding a beer and he was underage, so he was being cited,” Watton said. “When we ran him, there was a warrant for his arrest for some minor thing. And then he had cocaine in his pocket.”

San Luis Obispo police say they had 95 citations and 30 arrests that they have loosely linked to the start of school, since they occurred in Zone 1 (near campus) and Zone 3 (downtown). The city studied a different time period than Watton, from Sept. 10 to Monday.

Classes began at Cal Poly on Tuesday.

San Luis Obispo police Capt. Ian Parkinson said that 49 of the citations were for open container of alcohol violations under the city’s ordinance.

Ken Barclay, director of Student Life and Leadership at Cal Poly, said the university will look at how events unfolded to determine if there are things it can do to avoid the types of alcohol-related problems seen this year. Student Life organizes the Week of Welcome activities that started Sept. 15 and ended at 1 a.m. Sunday.

“What we do is, after every opening orientation, we get together and assess the whole situation,” Barclay said.

WOW activities include tours of the campus and San Luis Obispo, bonding exercises, and listening to speakers talk about safety and the perils of alcohol abuse.

Police and campus officials expressed concern last Wednesday over the high number of alcohol-related arrests, citations that were issued and large crowds roaming neighborhoods near the campus after WOW activities ended that day.

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center officials alerted the public to a high number of patients who experienced either alcohol intoxication, or injuries tied to the use of alcohol.

Barclay said WOW activities were already altered this year because of problems that occurred last year. WOW had historically been from Tuesday afternoon through Friday night, but it was rescheduled to be from Tuesday through Sunday morning.

“One of the reasons the WOW schedule was changed was a result of behavioral issues last year,” he said. “When WOW ended last year on a Friday night, there were some issues in the community, the same kind of things we are seeing now.”