UCPD responds to 4 cases of alcohol-related illness during move-in weekend

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UCPD responded to four alcohol-related-illness incidents between Saturday night and Monday morning — less than half as many as last year during the same period.

According to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode, there was one alcohol-related incident early Sunday morning and three between Sunday night and Monday morning. Two incidents involved students under the legal drinking age of 21, one of whom was 17 years old.

Last year, UCPD responded to nine incidents during move-in weekend, eight of which occurred between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday.

“So far, there have been substantially less incidents,” DeCoulode said, comparing this year to previous years, adding that “each year and each class brings different people.”

Like last year, UCPD partnered with Berkeley Police Department and deployed plainclothes officers to popular nightlife areas.

BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats said in an email that BPD had fewer alcohol-related calls in the south campus area than last year but that “it was still busy.”

BPD issued a total of 45 alcohol-related citations Sunday night. These citations, however, could be issued for open containers of alcohol, drinking in public or false identification — not just alcohol-related illness.

Karen Hughes, the coordinator for [email protected] — a Tang Center program that aims to reduce alcohol-related harm for students — said better security, beverage control and occupancy management at parties might have contributed to the fewer alcohol-related-illness incidents. After observing students Sunday night, she said parties this weekend were less crowded and had fewer alcohol-serving stations than in previous years.

“The dial is moving on what party hosts expect of themselves and what party guests expect of them,” she said.

Every move-in weekend has historically seen an increase in the number of intoxicated students, according to Carolyn Kemp, a spokesperson for Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. But, like UCPD, the hospital saw about half as many students admitted for alcohol-related illness this year compared to last year.

The limited number of beds in the hospital’s emergency room forced fire-department personnel to transport patients to hospitals farther away last year.

“It is our deep hope that through education of incoming students about the dangers of over indulgence of this type, we will not see a repeat of last year’s extreme,” Kemp said in an email.

According to Marty Takimoto, a spokesperson for Residential and Student Service Programs, incoming students this year will participate in a new program that includes information about alcohol use and abuse. As in the past, students must also complete online AlcoholEdu training.

“We’re hopeful that additional programming will help keep (alcohol-related-illness incident) numbers at a low level,” he said in an email.

Contact Sahil Chinoy at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @sahilchinoy_dc.