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New drinking policy during Homecoming

Josh Fields/Arizona Daily Wildcat
An officer patrols during tailgating outside McKale Center. UAPD will enforce alcohol restrictions on the UA Mall during Homecoming.
By Danielle Rideau
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
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UAPD to check IDs on Mall

Students planning to drink on the UA Mall during Homecoming weekend will have to abide by the new drinking policy and pass through security guards who will be checking to make sure everyone is of legal drinking age.

The Alumni Association plans and runs the Homecoming events on the UA Mall, and this year it will be erecting a wall to define the "area of consumption" of alcohol to help in reducing the amount of underage drinkers in and around the tailgating tents, said Angie Ballard, the Alumni Association's director of Homecoming.

In the past, the camp us's surrounding streets, North Euclid and North Campbell avenues and East Speedway Boulevard and East Sixth Street, have defined the area of consumption, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman.

The boundary was reduced last year, and the Alumni Association had gates around each tent with security guards hired by the participating organizations to check identifications of people who entered, Ballard said.

This year, a physical wall around the entire Mall east of Old Main will define the boundaries with security guards checking everyone's ages at each entrance, Ballard said.

To ensure the safety of all participants and to patrol the area for underage drinking, Mejia said UAPD will have officers patrolling the campus on bicycles to ensure the safety of the campus community during tailgating and Homecoming events.

During Homecoming weekend, the Tucson Police Department will have their normal deployment of six officers in a driving under the influence task force patrolling the Fourth Avenue district and downtown areas as well as the UA campus area, said Leo Taud, DUI sergeant for the City of Tucson. If UAPD requests more officer enforcement, Taud said TPD will assist them with backup.

Once inside the area of consumption, everyone is required to abide by state laws and university policies regarding consumption of alcohol, according to the policy outlined on the UA Web site.

The policy states that if anyone is drinking on UA property, they must follow state laws and "conduct themselves responsibility."

Mejia said UAPD has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking, and officers will be citing people for such a violation on Homecoming weekend.

Mejia did not know the numbers of citations for last year's Homecoming weekend, but he said they usually aren't any higher than the number of citations at regular season football games. The Dean of Students Office offers the diversion program for first-time misdemeanor offenders. The office's Web site said students who take the diversion program must first be referred by the Justice Court, Pima County attorney or UAPD after receiving a citation.

Of the cases that were reviewed by the Dean of Students Office last year, 170 were students who had to attend diversion, and a majority were drug and alcohol cases, said Anthony Skevakis, program coordinator for judicial affairs.

The Dean of Students Office does not keep records for how many citations are made during specific events or holidays, but Associate Dean of Students Veda Kowalski said the numbers do not get significantly higher during Homecoming weekends.

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