More than 340 arrested, cited during Welcome Weekend - WNEM TV 5

More than 340 arrested, cited during Welcome Weekend

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MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -

Police were in full force this weekend as students were welcomed back to Central Michigan University.

The Mt. Pleasant Police Department received more than 600 calls from 7 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25 to 7 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28 during Welcome Weekend.

They arrested or cited more than 344 people for crimes ranging from carrying a concealed weapon to open intoxication. 

1 Carrying Concealed Weapon
17 Disorderly Conduct
5 Disturbing the Peace
1 Driving While License Suspended
2 Malicious Destruction of Property
70 Minor in Possession of Alcohol
7 Nuisance Party-Attending
45 Nuisance Party-Hosting
155 Open Intoxicants 
4 OWI
6 Possession of Drugs
3 Resisting and Obstructing
25 Traffic Citations
3 Warrant Arrest

Officers from 14 different departments assisted in patrolling. 

"It was pretty hectic. I actually live here on Douglas so I'm pretty close to Main [Street] and all that stuff. It did get pretty loud, even til 6 in the morning," said Austin Douglas, junior at CMU.

He said welcome weekend can get out of hand.

"A little of it is too much, maybe occasionally. When it's every day it can be a tad bit bothersome," Douglas said.

CMU police handed out 144 more tickets this year than last year's welcome weekend.

Cameron Wassman, with campus police, said they are doing what they can to prevent more serious issues from happening.

"We combine our enforcement efforts and educational efforts that we do here at CMU regarding drinking and just staying safe," he said.

Tony Voisin, vice president of student affairs, said this is the typical hype of getting back to school. He called it a mild start compared to previous years.

"Students were very compliant and cooperative and respectful. We try to work to minimize the effects of activities that occur in a welcome weekend, the things are probably going to be a part of whatever we do moving forward. Our goal is really to try and get the students to understand they are members of our community and want to be respectful," Voisin said.

As for students, Davonte Michaels said despite the reputation welcome week is not about getting drunk.

The freshman said for him, it was about getting to know the people he will be spending the next nine months with.

"It was awesome. It was fun. I got to meet my roommate and people from my dorm and I was able to establish a relationship with them," Michaels said.

Others like Douglas, said they hope this welcome weekend will teach everyone there are consequences to your actions.

"Maybe people won't bring alcohol out on the streets and that kind of thing. And try to help people stay more safe I guess," Douglas said.

Mt. Pleasant Mayor Kathy Ling said the city is being more aggressive in ticketing students for failing to follow city ordinances.

"That is one reason the number of citations may appear higher despite the fact that progress is being made in curbing some of [the] most problematic behaviors," Ling said in an email.

College drinking

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence released some statistics on college drinking. They said every year at least 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while drinking. They also said about 25 percent of college age students report academic consequences due to drinking. The report also said more than 18,000 college students die each year from alcohol related injuries.

Mt. Pleasant police said more than 200 alcohol related offenses were given out last week, including a drunk driving incident that caused serious injuries.

Jeff Brown, with the city police department, said they do all they can to prevent things like that from happening.

"We do a lot of messaging and programming about drinking and driving and social media campaigns to not drink and drive, but also don't get overly intoxicated," Brown said.

Some CMU students said they've learned the importance of being responsible.

"Every year you hear about kids getting injured or hurt really bad during welcome week and other party weekends. It's important to know your limits and know the importance of safe partying," said Ryan McConahay, junior.

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