Shamrocks, not cell blocks: Lawyer talks student rights on Fake Patty’s Day

Bouncers at Kite's prepare for the Fake Patty's Day crowds. The holiday occurs annually on the weekend before spring break in Manhattan, Kansas. (File Photo by Austin Fuller | The Collegian)

Sarah Barr, lawyer for Kansas State’s Student Legal Services, spoke to an audience of students in Justin Hall Tuesday night about the importance of knowing their rights and when to exercise them, especially with Fake Patty’s Day this weekend.

“Fake Patty’s Day is what gives me job security in the spring,” Barr said, prompting laughter in the audience.

Barr offered advice on what students should do if they come in contact with the police. Barr explained how students should exercise the right to remain silent when dealing with the police.
Barr said students should also remember to remain calm and cool when dealing with the police, no matter their level of intoxication. Barr warned students that police are legally allowed to give false promises to gather information.

“Cops are allowed to lie to you so that you will give them the information they want,” Hannah Maxwell, freshman in biological systems engineering, said.

Barr said she wanted students to understand that they do not have to comply with everything a police officer asks of them. There must be probable cause for an officer to enact any type of search of a person or home.

“You don’t have to consent to any searches,” Leah Bartles, freshman in open option, said. “Without reasonable cause, refusing either of those won’t make the punishments any harsher.”

Barr listed out each of the crimes students often get ticketed for and the associated penalties. She said that every fine students receive on Fake Patty’s will be doubled, and a $1,000 fine is nothing to take lightly.

“Your Fake Patty’s ticket is not a good use for your financial student aid money,” Barr said.

In dealing with the severity of the topic, Barr took a light approach toward talking with students and making them feel like they were talking to a colleague — an approach that allowed Barr to be more open and honest.

“She was hilarious,” Trevor Rine, freshman in political science, said. “She really let loose.”

Barr said she wanted to make it clear to students that a weekend of partying could leave them in serious legal trouble and affect their college careers.

Students seeking Barr’s advice can contact her at 785-532-6432, at and in person at 201 Holton Hall.