Spring Fest weekend block party prohibited

Although Police and Safety commended students’ behavior after the St. Patrick’s Day block party involving several hundred Mercyhurst University students, another party of this size will not be allowed for this weekend’s Spring Fest.

Vice President for Student Life Gerry Tobin, Ph.D., and Director of Residence Life Alice Agnew met with students who live in the Lewis and East 41st Street townhouses on Thursday, April 26, to discuss the problems associated with having another block party.

Tobin explained the reason for this meeting.

Jill Barrile photo: Even though hundreds of students were able to gather for a St. Patrick's Day party, large groups will not be permitted to party outside for Spring Fest.Jill Barrile photo: Even though hundreds of students were able to gather for a St. Patrick’s Day party, large groups will not be permitted to party outside for Spring Fest.

“What sparked the meeting was the rumors that students wanted to recreate the party that occurred on March 17,” he said.

At the meeting, Agnew reminded students of some of Mercyhurst’s rules that are stated in the student handbook. She told students that no open containers are permitted, and students are not allowed to facilitate underage drinking.

Agnew explained why the meeting only took place at these townhouses.

She said Residence Life held the meeting where the party was planned to happen. Agnew and Tobin wanted to relay their message to a small group.

Senior Irene Gallagher, who lives in one of the townhouses, did not think this was the best strategy.

“I think this was not an effective meeting because only a select number of people were required to attend it,” said Gallagher.

“A lot more people other than those that live in townhouses were at the St. Patrick’s Day party. They should have sent an email out or printed notices somewhere to alert other people that a St. Patrick’s Day 2 can’t occur without consequences,” she said.

Even though the St. Patrick’s Day block party was a success, Tobin explained why another block party cannot happen during Spring Fest.

“There was lots of underage drinking that we cannot condone,” he said.

Penn State Behrend is a dry campus and Penn State University, Main Campus will be next year, Tobin said. He does not intend for Mercyhurst to be a dry campus as well.

Tobin said he is worried about the safety risks involved with the block party and thought Mercyhurst was lucky there were no unfortunate incidents at the St. Patrick’s Day gathering outside the townhouses.

“We don’t have the capacity to control safely those kinds of events,” said Tobin. “Our goal is to keep everyone safe.”

Tobin is concerned about tragic incidents occurring and discussed Jason Wahl, the 21-year-old Gannon student, who died after incurring head injuries when he fell off the second-floor balcony of the Alpha Phi Delta fraternity house.

Tobin said he still wants students to have fun, and he explained what activities are permitted.

“We want people to have a good time,” he said. “It’s just that there has to be an alternative to having a large gathering with all of the component risks involved with that.”

Students are allowed to gather outside in small groups to play games, such as corn hole. Inflatable pools are permitted as well.

Additional Erie City Police and Mercyhurst Police and Safety officers will patrol campus for Spring Fest. Liquor Control Enforcement will likely be on campus as well.