The theme for this year’s Picnic Day is “Rewind” and after a record number of arrests last year, organizers of the event are striving to bring the day back to its roots.
A Davis city council ordinance, “Safety Enhancement Zone,” has designated areas of enhanced penalties for violations of municipal code provisions. Essentially, the safety zones cover the areas of Davis that tend to have the most violations on Picnic Day: downtown and frat row on Russell Boulevard.
Though the 97th annual day is not until Saturday, the safety zones will be effective from tomorrow at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 6 a.m. Violations include: general noise, urinating in public, open containers of alcohol and smoking violations. Violators will be charged $395 per offense. In addition, noise citations will be $235, minimum, anywhere in Davis.
The city posted 28 large signs at major entry points of these zones this week, informing community members of the increased fines and these locations.
Gary Sandy, director of local government relations for UC Davis, said he thinks the prospect of receiving any fine is compelling.
“I’m hoping people will keep in mind the importance of Picnic Day and that a repeat of last year could jeopardize the day,” Sandy said. “Students did a good job coming up with the rewind theme. This doubled violation, no pun intended, is a sobering one.”
According to Don Dudley, interim director of Student Judicial Affairs (SJA), campus and city police understand that any reported misconduct by students will be sent to SJA, in addition to any police response. Police will refer these cases to SJA, regardless of whether they occur on or off campus, in the enhanced safety zone or elsewhere in the city.
Any student conduct that interferes or obstructs a police officer in the performance of their duties – noncooperation, combativeness – will be a factor in choosing a disciplinary sanction. Suspension from school is one possible disciplinary measure.
“Picnic Day is a co-operative venture between the city and UC Davis,” Dudley said. “Students need to follow the University Standards of Conduct whether they are on or off campus, on and around Picnic Day.”
The city police will not have increased patrols in these areas, but Lt. Glen Glasgow of the Davis Police Department (DPD) said the ordinance was born out of similar ordinances from other college towns with large events like in San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Chico.
“These safety zones just give us an additional tool in our tool box to deter crime in the downtown core,” Glasgow said. “We hope a change in culture will allow Picnic Day to continue for years to come.”
Mac Walker, senior communications major and entertainment director of Picnic Day, said he believes the safety zones will result in a lot less parties this year.
“Students will naturally have to observe the ordinance,” Walker said. “Landlords won’t be allowing as many parties this year. Without the zones the tradition of Picnic Day could be jeopardized.”
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached email@example.com.