Student participants eligible for potentially reduced SCPD fines
The Santa Clara
January 31, 2019
Laughter broke out when Kimberly Gilkey from the Office of Student Life told the crowd that if their house had already received more than three police department-issued tickets since the beginning of the school year, they were ineligible for the Educated Partier Program (EPP).
Around one-third of the room, mainly young men clad in sweatshirts with greek letters, stood up and shuffled toward the door—making sure to grab some free wings on the way out.
Tuesday’s gathering in the Williman Room was the quarterly meeting for the EPP.
The program provides incentives for students living in off-campus houses to engage in safe practices when hosting a gathering.
The EPP started in 2009 as an effort to teach students how to be responsible when throwing parties and also be good neighbors to the surrounding Santa Clara community.
According to the university’s website, “the voluntary program has been teaching students about safety and responsibility, emphasizing the dangers of over serving or of serving underage students.”
For the past two academic years, EPP was only available for students living in university-owned off-campus homes.
However, according to Gilkey, students who did not live in those specific houses also wanted participate in the program.
Because of this, EPP was changed back to a program that is available to all students living off-campus, as it had been prior to the 2016 and 2017 academic years.
Each quarter, residents who want to take advantage of the program go to the meeting—with at least half of the members of their houses in attendance—and are reminded of what it means to be a safe partier.
These practices include making sure there is a “sober monitor” at all house parties who stays sober throughout the night and looks out for party attendees.
The sober monitor should do things like walk through the party to check if anyone is too intoxicated and make sure guests get home safely.
Finally, the sober monitor is the person who will interact with SCPD in the case authorities are called to the home.
In return for attending the EPP meetings each quarter, students are provided with “partier packs” that include rolls of paper towels, bottles of water and Clorox wipes.
The most enticing part of the program for many attendees is the ability to tell SCPD officers they are part of the EPP.
If the students living in the house cooperate with officers during their encounter, the students can potentially get their first citation from SCPD waived.
Sgt. Richard Fitting with SCPD’s Nuisance Suppression Unit attended Tuesday’s meeting to talk about the university’s collaboration with the police department.
Fitting explained that in order for students to potentially get one of their tickets dismissed or reduced, the encounter between police and residents must be pleasant and cooperative.
“Let’s say we knock on the door and you have 400 people in the backyard [with a] DJ going,” Fitting said. “I can guarantee you the officer didn’t put their badge on that day to ruin your party. Their objective is to maintain public peace then go back to fighting bad guys.”
He described a positive interaction between SCPD and students as one in which the sober monitor answers the door and politely listens to the police officer’s requests.
“This is an opportunity for you all to have a positive interaction with SCPD and if or when something does get out of hand, you have this great chance to get your ticket reduced,” Fitting said.
In addition to talks from SCPD, students who are part of the university’s Emergency Medical Services spoke about what kinds of assistance their group provides.
The volunteer medical technicians told program attendees that they are on duty every day from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., during which the Cowell Health Center is closed.
As a university-funded volunteer program, the technicians are only able to respond to calls on campus.
This means that even if a student is in need of help at a university-owned off campus Neighborhood Unit, the technicians are unable to provide assistance.
Contact Kimi Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.