The annual festivity of Fake Patty’s Day came and went this year amidst excitement and controversy. Students were warned about the possibility of overcrowding, public intoxication and acts of violence prior to the event, but Usha Reddi, newly elected City Commissioner, believes that violence on Fake Patty’s Day is an issue that needs to be addressed.
“In the future, I would like to see more of a collaborative effort between Manhattan schools,” Reddi said. “such as addressing how alcohol affects girls versus boys — becoming informed about the chemical makeup of alcohol. It is all about educating our youth.”
Fake Patty’s Day in Manhattan is one of the most celebrated festivals attended by college students in and around the Manhattan area. Some students travel from neighboring states to participate.
Due in large part to the power of social media, Fake Patty’s Day has developed a momentum all its own as a celebration that allows students to let out energy and gain a respite from the school semester. Hoards of green-clad students head for the bars as they open their doors at 9 a.m. for the event each year. However, over the past few years, the Manhattan City Commission has expressed concern about the violence that occurs as a side effect of the festivities.
A total of 115 arrests and 225 open container citations were issued over Fake Patty’s Day weekend this year, in addition to 22 requests for emergency medical services called in relation to the event. Accompanying these violent acts were issues of property damage, fire department regulations and house parties. In response, the City Commission is working to find solutions to accommodate everyone.
The commission is concerned about both the physical violence that is reported and also also the sexual violence that often is not. For various reasons, students often do not report this kind of violence until months later.
The issue of binge drinking is also a concern.
“We need to educate students about the difference between binge drinking and social drinking,” Reddi said. “In society, kids will do as they do, but we need to be an outlet for them. The RCPD always does a good job of educating the students before this day on the rules and regulations of the law.”
Using e-mail, posters, social media cites and word of mouth, students who participate in Fake Patty’s Day are provided information prior to the day about the risks often associated with the event and strategies for being prepared and making smart choices.
Eli Schooley, student body president-elect and senior in political science, said he appreciated the RCPD in this respect.
“The Riley County Police Department does a really good job of showcasing the rules of Fake Patty’s Day,” Schooley said. “They are always public and upfront. They make sure students are aware of the rules and take precautions.”
Michelle Simmons, sophomore in secondary education, said she is glad that there are people out there who are concerned for students’ safety.
“I feel like violence is increasing every year, and that can be scary for students. But people are out there that care about the safety of students,” Simmons said. “I know there is a way to have fun and be careful all at the same time.”