Due to a decrease in arrests last year, UC Davis and the City of Davis are keeping the same regulations for this year’s Picnic Day.
Problems in the past include open containers of alcohol, public urination, noise violations and smoking. The first three will be subjected to a $403 fine and smoking will be subjected to a $480 fine due to the safety enhancement zone.
In 2011, the Davis City Council established a safety zone in downtown Davis during Picnic Day. The next year, the council extended the zone to include Old North Davis.
The zone doubles fines just for Picnic Day in the downtown Davis area — along Russell Boulevard, between Anderson Road and the railroad tracks as well as between First and Eighth streets.
“Some other big issues are people coming from other cities. We have cut advertisement to limit the people coming out of town or out of state who have no affiliation with UC Davis. Picnic Day only means something to people in Davis,” said Jonathan Wu, chair of Picnic Day and a fourth-year neurobiology and psychology double major.
Paul Cody, interim director for the Center for Student Involvement, said the center, Davis City Council, Davis Police Department and Davis Fire Department have worked together since 2009 to propose and administer new regulations to keep Picnic Day safe and fun for everyone.
“Since these problems have occurred, we have put more resources towards the event, increased enforcement and police presence and created an extended safety enhancement zone, along with rules that have already been set in place such as zero-tolerance on campus,” Cody said.
Davis Police Lieutenant Paul Doroshov gave advice on how to avoid dangers involved with Picnic Day and how to avoid conflict.
“Last year, we still made over 50 arrests, mostly for misdemeanors and alcohol violations. The bulk of issues with Picnic Day regard drinking and public intoxication, which can lead to fighting and sexual assault. The highest danger is typical house parties,” Doroshov said. “Many people don’t know what they are getting into and a lot of uninvited guests end up coming from out of town looking for a party.”
This year’s Picnic Day lands on April 20 — also referred to as four-twenty or 4/20 — a “holiday” in cannabis culture during which people celebrate by smoking marijuana. Despite this coincidence, the police department has not prepared any new regulations regarding this day.
“When it comes to enforcement, there is not a whole lot new this year. We are aware that Picnic Day lands on 4/20, but we don’t know if this will make a big difference,” Doroshov said. “Smoking is still a violation and police will respond properly. The main concern is alcohol consumption.”
Several bars, restaurants and supermarkets have agreed to a Picnic Day Covenant, preventing the selling and purchasing of alcohol before 11 a.m. Fire marshals came into restaurants and bars to make official maximum capacity standards, allowing only a certain number of people inside at one time. The restaurants and bars have also helped fund Porta Potties that will be placed throughout downtown to stop public urination.
Wu said the main problem is the students’ mentality.
“People come into college as freshmen and hear about the parties involved with Picnic Day. They do not think that this day is about families and events. Their ‘let’s get plastered and ruin it’ attitude is the biggest issue,” Wu said.
Carly Sandstrom, ASUCD President and a third-year international relations and economics major, agreed with Wu.
“I don’t want students feeling like they weren’t informed on policies. Don’t come onto campus if you are inebriated. It’s not worth the money or having something be put on your record,” Sandstrom said.
Sandstrom said if people want to party, it is advised that they do not come onto campus.
“In the next couple weeks, if there are student groups that want advice, they can contact the police department or me so we can come in and talk about our expectations. We have gone in and talked to Greek organizations, so I hope to find other obscure groups — whether if it’s a club or sports team to talk to,” Doroshov said. “Anyone can and should contact the police in advance if in need of assistance with something regarding your event.”
Despite all of the potential dangers involved, ASUCD wants to emphasize the events and the enjoyment to be shared.
“I encourage everyone to have a fun time and go to events. It’s the beginning of Spring Quarter, everyone is excited to get back on campus and the weather is great,” Sandstrom said. “Just don’t take too many shots too quickly and have a small party off campus, if need be. Just enjoy campus events, maintain yourselves and don’t do anything illegal.”
MELISSA GAHERTY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.