Miami Beach police speak on beach rules, spring break safety

Miami Beach police speak on beach rules, spring break safety

Life Editor Lavette Williams

While many students use their Spring Break to relax and recharge after midterms, others use the week-long vacations to travel to exotic places and engage in behavior that is often seen as risky.

The University of North Alabama’s Office of Student Conduct will be hosting an event, speaking on Spring Break safety. It will take place on March 19-20 in the Guillot University Center from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The purpose of the event is to provide students with practical safety tips they can implement during spring break, including safe drinking, communicating boundaries, planning limits and not mixing drugs with alcohol.

Miami Beach’s Police Department spoke about this subject too, advising college students to be on their best behavior during Spring Break.

The Miami Beach Chief of Police, Daniel Oates sent out an email to the University of North Alabama’s President, Kenneth Kitts Nov. 20.

“Miami Beach had been challenged in recent years by student misbehavior during Spring Break – to the point that our Police Department must now take a harder line going forward,” Oates said in the email. “While most students who visit here obey the law and reasonable notions of decorum, some do not.”

He said in recent years, the misbehavior of some college students during Spring break has become downright dangerous, leading to medical emergencies, traffic incidents, out-of-control mob behavior and very concerning crowd-control issues.

“So I am writing to ask that you assist Miami Beach in sharing with your students the following message from our Police Department: ‘If you come to Miami Beach for Spring Break, you must obey your laws,” Oates said. “If you do not, you will be arrested.”

The Police Department encourages university students to enjoy the beach but to also be aware of the consequences that can come from making bad decisions.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Kimberly Greenway and Director of Student Conduct Caroline Bowen said students should be mindful of their actions at all times, but particularly during Spring Break because they are often in an unfamiliar place, in large crowds of people and with many people they do not know.

“There are a wide range of consequences that can come from bad decisions specifically regarding alcohol and drug use,” Greenway and Bowen said. “Medically, students can face injury, illness or even death.”

They said legal consequences such as arrests can happen if students are under the age of 21 and consuming alcohol, if anyone is driving under the influence, if students over the age of 21 are distributing alcohol to minors, or any drug use and distribution.

“Students actions over Spring Break can also have consequences that affect them at UNA with possible referrals to the Student Conduct office,” Greenway and Bowen said. “It is also important to note that the decisions that students make while on Spring Break may also impact their personal goals and ambitions.”

Their advice for students, who are planning to go out of town during Spring Break with friends, is to use the buddy system and to always make sure they know where their friends are.

“If you plan to consume alcohol, drink responsibly and always have a designated driver in your group of friends,” Greenway and Bowen said. “Make a safety plan with your friends before you start your day. Making decisions before you start drinking alcohol helps to promote better decision making skills and they diminish with alcohol intake.”

UNA has both a Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan Policy to encourage students to come forward and seek help either for themselves or others if they are ever found to be in a dangerous health situation due to severe alcohol or drug intoxication.