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Photo of Matt M. McClenahen
Photo of Matt M. McClenahen

State Patty’s Day Spirit Spreads to IUP

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2014 | State Patty's Day

While State Patty’s Day mayhem is but a mere shell of its former self, it appears the tradition of IU Patty’s Day is just gaining traction. Although the IUP student-created holiday has been around since 2012, it did not attract much notoriety until this past weekend, when things got out of hand. Videos show drunken young people blocking traffic, walking around with open containers of alcohol, jumping on cars, fighting, throwing objects and screaming and yelling.

I have not seen any arrest and citation statistics yet, but I would anticipate a slew of summary offense charges like underage drinking, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, as well as misdemeanors like simple assault and DUI. So far, there appears to be no talk of any felon riot charges, although some of the video footage shows far more riotous behavior than that which led to a handful of riot charges at Penn State Altoona in the fall of 2013.

IU Patty’s Day has a similar origin to the far more famous or infamous State Patty’s Day: the administration scheduled spring break during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, the established Irish Catholic drinking holiday tolerated by officialdom because it has been around long enough to be considered a “real holiday,” and because middle-aged and old people participate. The students at both schools responded by creating their own green and shamrock themed holidays, which are not tolerated by officialdom, because they are not “real holidays” and because few people over age 25 participate. Well, that and the fact that young people tend to get a little more destructive than equally drunk older people.

Just like at Penn State’s State Patty’s Day, many of the participants are believed to be students from other schools. And just as IUP students have traditionally been well-represented at State Patty’s Day, I am sure that there were more than a few Penn Staters at IU Patty’s Day. A trip to Indiana County for day long binge drinking is certainly more economically logical than travelling all the way to Mexico or Florida to do the same thing. The Key difference is that Cancun and some Florida beach towns actively seek spring breakers from far and wide to come to their towns and raise hell (while spending a lot of money), while the same cannot be said about State College or Indiana.

Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense lawyer in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University.

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