By Jordan Klebe
The traditional March celebration of “Kutzpatty’s Day” at KU has long been known around campus as a day of drinking and green T-shirts on a Saturday after spring break. It is also, according to borough police records, a day filled with reports of liquor law violations, noise complaints and disorderly conduct.
Over the past five years, borough police have responded to a total of 384 reported incidents on Kutzpatty’s Day, according to police statistics released in response to an information request under the state’s Right-to-Know Law. The dates for requested reports were March 25, 2018; March 25, 2017; March 19, 2016; March 21, 2015 and March 8, 2014.
Over that period, the most common report type was noise complaints, with a total of 44 reports from 2014 to this year, according to the records. The records show there were also 38 total reports of disorderly conduct and 20 reports of liquor law violations. Over the period, there were eight reports of public drunkenness.
Local Kutztown resident, Josh Chambers, said he’s noticed an increased police presence on those days.
“Our local PD is more visible for sure on the weekend,” Chambers said. “I’m thinking Kutztown has asked for support from neighboring areas as well as support from KuBOK.”
KuBOK is a program that recruits volunteers to walk through Kutztown during peak social hours of the weekends (Thursday to Sunday) and help the Kutztown Borough Police surveillance the streets to ensure safety of residents and students.
Kalee Fuegel, a 21-year-old KU student, said she celebrates the day by drinking outside with her friends that have graduated from KU and want to partake in the celebration. Although Fuegel thinks the day runs smoothly for the most part, she said she has seen some of the negative impacts Kutzpatty’s can have on the town.
“I think the day can get out of hand with the cleanup,” Fuegel said. “But I think there are easy solutions that could be implemented to help reduce the cleanup for the town such as the ones similar to Homecoming.”
Fuegel feels that since all of the sports teams are required by their coaches to clean up the streets the day after the celebration, KU could go to the extent of requiring fraternities and sororities associated with the university to clean up as well to be sure the job gets done.
Another KU student and Kutzpatty’s Day participant, Reilly Donovan, said she feels safer knowing that there is heightened police presence during this day, but feels that the police do more than they need to.
“They know that Kutzpatty’s is a drinking a holiday and it’s going to happen no matter what, so I don’t think they should bust a party that doesn’t look like it’s getting out of hand,” Donovan said.
Donovan offered a solution to the crowd control question: “It would probably be safer to just block off a road to somewhat contain and monitor the holiday but still allowing the students to have fun.”
Craig Summers, Kutztown Chief of Police, declined comment about the celebration of Kutzpatty’s and the proposed solutions. He said he didn’t want to bring more publicity to the day.
Chambers, however, said he was glad to see some of the clean-up efforts by students. But he wasn’t sure if the idea of a “quarantine zone” would be a great solution.
“I’m not all that would be the best route to take,” Chambers said. “See the season of HBO’s ‘The Wire’ where the Baltimore PD created Hamsterdam to allow a free zone for illegal activity. … It didn’t end well.”