Lehigh Police Chief Edward Shupp and Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio sent a joint email to students Sept. 18 cautioning them to drink safely and legally.
“We have received feedback from students saying the police are ruining the social culture on and off campus by arresting everyone who is trying to have fun,” the email read. “Unfortunately, furnishing alcohol to a minor and/or consuming alcohol while underage is against the law.”
Shupp and DiLuzio emphasized it is LUPD and BPD’s job to enforce the law, which includes responding to all calls for assistance or citizen complaints. The email reminded students that anyone consuming alcohol while underage — or anyone publicly intoxicated, even if they are over 21 years old — is subject to arrest.
The email comes after 56 Lehigh students were arrested at an off-campus party Sept. 2. Another 20 students were arrested the following weekend and five more were hospitalized, according to The Morning Call. On Sept. 11, Lafayette student McCrae Williams died after he was found unconscious outside a campus dorm. In all cases, alcohol was involved.
In April, Student Senate hosted a town hall to brainstorm solutions to dangerous drinking habits. Senate organized the discussion after four students had near-death experiences last semester as a result of excessive partying.
“Here we are addressing the same issue again,” Shupp and DiLuzio wrote.
Shupp and DiLuzio addressed rumors that some students aren’t leaving their dorm rooms because they fear “the police are out to get them and they will be arrested no matter what,” the email read. As long as students aren’t doing anything wrong, Shupp and DiLuzio assured students they will not get in trouble.
The email said Lehigh students have a duty to be respectful neighbors to South Side residents, which includes “being considerate of noise, property, garbage and personal behavior.” Shupp and DiLuzio said students and residents need to find a way to coexist peacefully, but student behavior at night has inhibited that goal.
The two police chiefs signed off the email by encouraging students to take advantage of the university’s non-alcohol based programs.
“As a student of the university and student resident of Bethlehem,” the email read, “your overall safety and well-being is our highest priority.”