With the new Memorial Stadium completed, football games are back on our home turf. Last Saturday marked the first football game of the season, and Berkeley was flooded with blue and gold, eager alums, students and fans cheering on the Golden Bears. While most enjoyed the event without any problems, those who chose to drink before the event might have found themselves in a tight bind. While pre-gaming before heading to Memorial Stadium may be common, excessive drinking can lead to some serious consequences. In the worst case scenario, individuals may even find themselves in a local jail to be held overnight, rather than celebrating our victory or mourning our loss.
As the campus public defender, the ASUC Student Advocate’s Office helps students who face student conduct charges, alcohol-related or otherwise. We provide free and confidential advice and representation throughout the conduct process at the university. If you find yourself facing any charges, we are here to help.
This year, UCPD is partnering up with the Berkeley Police Department and Alameda County Vice Enforcement Team, ACVET, to monitor and control potentially unsafe situations at football games. With heightened police presence and outside law enforcement beyond UCPD and BPD, which may not be as familiar with Berkeley’s campus culture, students’ compliance is especially crucial in avoiding further conflict.
On the day of the game, police officers will patrol the area to identify and target seemingly aggressive and unruly students. An open container of alcohol will undoubtedly catch the attention of vigilant officers, so leave the alcohol at home, no matter how big the temptation to drink at the game. If there are some obvious indications of your intoxication — including but not limited to being excessively noisy before entering the stadium, having red eyes, flushed skin or swaying — you may be pulled aside by an officer. The officer may question you regarding your alcohol consumption and may ask you for your identification. To avoid further escalation of the situation, remain calm and comply with the officer’s request.
If you are cited, you will have to pay a $125 fine, and the officer will most likely forward the incident to the campus Center for Student Conduct, CSC, which processes students who have been accused of violating the campus Code of Student Conduct. With the new Code of Student Conduct implemented in February 2012, first-time offenders who are charged with minor alcohol violations through CSC will receive what is known as a nonreportable warning. A nonreportable warning is a formal warning that will be kept as CSC’s internal record. A nonreportable warning is different from an actual conduct record because it cannot be viewed or accessed by external entities such as graduate schools. First-time offenders will also have to complete a mandatory alcohol education workshop, which costs another $25. In addition, repeat offenders may face harsh consequences, including another $125 fine, a conduct record, which may be detrimental for those who are applying to graduate school while still attending UC Berkeley, and being banned from the next home game, which is a new sanction agreed upon by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and CSC.
Beyond football games, if you plan on hosting a party before, on or after football games, keep in mind that excessive noise can attract some unwanted attention from the police. While a first noise violation results in a warning, a public notice and an order to disperse, a second violation within the next 120 days, including the same night of the party, can lead to an automatic fine of $750. To avoid any violations, keep the noise and number of occupants down and try and control where and when alcohol is distributed.
The ASUC Student Advocate’s Office wishes you a wonderful football season with many victories and without conduct violations. Should you find yourself facing student conduct charges or have any questions regarding the student conduct process, please feel free to email us at [email protected], or visit us in our office in 114B Hearst Gym, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stacy Suh is the 2012-13 ASUC student advocate.
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