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Athens police look positively on High Fest

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The past week saw the start of spring fest season in Athens as many Ohio University students and Athens residents took to Mill Street to indulge in fun, camaraderie and of course, plenty of alcohol consumption.

A total of 29 people were arrested, and around 10 of the 26 or so houses hosting parties were shut down for rowdiness or failing to cooperate with law enforcement. Arrests and citations followed for crimes ranging from obstruction of justice, public intoxication, to burglary, among others.

Though crowded and busy, and not without crime, there was a general consensus that this first fest of the year was relatively tame compared to past fests with numerous other factors playing a part.

The Athens police department was fairly pleased with the fest.

Chief of Police Tom Pyle made note of the more stringent enforcement of the city’s “nuisance party” law and of the visibility of the cops out on Mill Street. He also suggested that crowd control was effectively exercised and that several campaigns on OU’s campus that encouraged responsibility and a greater awareness of expectations of good behavior come fest season were observed for the most part by students.

One such example was the “Party Legal” posters that could be found around Ohio University’s campus. The posters advocated that students “Be Smart,” “Be Civil,” and “Be Safe.” He also acknowledged that the door-to-door campaign on Thursdays helped raise awareness of expectations.

Pyle believes having a majority of OU students at the fests is a good thing.

“Clearly what we saw was that the majority of attendees to this particular fest last weekend were Ohio University students, versus out of town,” Pyle said. “And that’s a positive thing. And being a part of this community, they clearly had knowledge of the expectations and what the threshold of acceptable behavior was.”

And while acknowledging the relatively good behavior of students, he also granted that outside reasoning, like the Ohio University Basketball team playing in the MAC championship, may have kept people occupied and that nearly all of the partying was over by 10:00 p.m.

In anticipation of future fests here in the spring season, Pyle expects the same formula to continue to be effective. He did voice a concern that he wanted to see “a little more of a concerted effort by the individual parties to be cleaned up and policed” and suggested that individual houses keep one or two individuals sober so that when officers came to the house to discuss violations that there would be someone to talk calmly rather than get argumentative.

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  1. […] major Matt McKnight, now a junior, perks up, fingers twitching toward the keyboard. This is High Fest, after all, and chaos is […]


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