Spring pub crawl sees fewer busts

Tyler Stricke

UW Oshkosh has been trying to put an end to pub crawl, a biannual drinking event, that is known for its problems with binge and underage drinking. “There is nothing organized about the event,” University Police Chief Kurt Leibold said. “If it is not controlled, things can get out of hand.” Leibold became university police chief in February and said he wants to remove the stigma UWO has with alcohol and binge drinking and stop pub crawl. According to documents obtained through an open records request, there were 45 citations that were made during pub crawl weekend in April 2015. Twenty two arrests were made on the campus of UW Oshkosh and seven of those citations were related to underage drinking. “I’d hate to see the reputation of this campus harmed,” Leibold said. “If there are problems with underage drinkers or other major citations, it can give this university a black eye.” According to the Oshkosh Northwestern, the Oshkosh Police Department released a preliminary report stating 13 citations were issued with only one arrest, compared to 100 citations and 10 arrests from the fall 2015 pub crawl. The Oshkosh Northwestern reported that the city of Oshkosh has also tried to stop pub crawl with a lawsuit to the event organizer that has now been dismissed. UWO senior Zach Ulickey said the University and OPD are handling enforcement during pub crawl poorly. “The people that are 21, we are going to drink anyway,” Ulickey said. “Instead of trying to get rid of it and tell us not to do it, why don’t you teach everyone the right way to do it?” Ulickey said the image UWO has received, with the nicknames, “Sloshkosh” and “UW zero” aren’t good for the University, but said it’s a reason why people come to the University. “If we’re known as a place where everyone goes and has fun and they can be responsible, that’s not a bad thing,” Ulickey said. “I don’t think we would have the enrollment we do if it wasn’t for that culture.” Open intoxicants were the main citation given out during the April 2015 pub crawl with 18, 10 of which were in the campus area. Ulickey said promoting safe drinking and travel can make it a safe event. “Oshkosh can be known for having parties, having fun and being responsible with it,” Ulickey said. Fourty of the 45 citations given out were after 8 p.m., and Leibold said it is when it gets dark when people start to violate more laws. “Most of the foolishness happens at night after people have been drinking all day,” Leibold said. “When people are on the move at night is when most of the problems arise.” UWO released a video March 17 telling students the dangers of pub crawl and the impact it could have on their future. “We wanted to create a discussion,” Leibold said. “We wanted to see students talk about it and think about the choices they are making.” Later on that week, a parody video was produced using the footage from the UWO video promoting the event. “The parody was expected,” Leibold said. “The parody brought attention to the situation and made students discuss safety during pub crawl.” Ulickey said trying to remove drinking isn’t the right approach to stop pub crawl because it will anger people. “If you do (get rid of drinking), it is just going to make people want to drink more to go against the police,” Ulickey said. “That’s what happened in fall when they tried to get rid of drinking. People just wanted to party more.”