Greater security for major weekend
By Emily Brigstocke, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 8, 2013
Over Winter Carnival weekend, Safety and Security and Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services will increase campus presence and patrol in anticipation of greater activity and potential hazards caused by the cold weather, Safety and Security director Harry Kinne and Dartmouth EMS executive director Nick Valentini ’13 said. Hanover Police treat Winter Carnival as an ordinary weekend and do not expect to change or increase patrols, Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone said.
In the fall, Dartmouth EMS — a student-run organization that works with Safey and Security, Dick’s House and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to respond to campus health emergencies — treated a relatively high number of first-year patients, Valentini said. Last spring term, the group began analyzing the calls it received to look for any noticeable trends, Valentini said.
The data showed that 51 percent of calls that Dartmouth EMS received were from freshmen experiencing trouble in their dormitories, he said. While the data is from a short period of time, the trends are troubling from a public health perspective.
“It could just be a function of freshman fall — there’s a huge learning curve there, but it’s obviously something we’d like to reduce,” he said.
The College established new alcohol and hazing reduction policies during Fall term but has not yet released its statistics on student health and drinking.
When the policies were first introduced, Dartmouth EMS and others were concerned that students would fear punishment as a result of the new policies and be less likely to call for help, he said.
“There’s been a lot of talk about new alcohol policies, but people are happy to see us,” Valentini said. “We’re student-to-student, helping out peers.”
During Winter Carnival, campus’ emergency health responders are concerned about increased levels of alcohol consumption, especially given possible weather-related hazards. Kinne said that the weekend is usually Safety and Security’s second busiest of the year after Homecoming.
Carnival weekend involves risks ranging from slips and falls to hypothermia in addition to the standard dangers of excessive drinking, Kinne said. Both Safety and Security and Dartmouth EMS will increase patrols throughout Winter Carnival.
“Very cold weather and alcohol don’t mix,” Kinne said.
In order to run two 24-hour crews, Dartmouth EMS will increase staff over Carnival weekend, Valentini said. Dartmouth EMS staff will be on call and forgo part of their own Winter Carnival experience, he said.
“It’s always a sacrifice for our members to take the shifts, but we split it up,” Valentini said. “Our membership is committed.”
Safety and Security officers will be stationed at events such as the Polar Bear Swim and human dog sled race during the day and will run extra nighttime patrols to monitor parties and potentially inebriated students walking across campus, Kinne said.
In the past, the majority of Winter Carnival arrests involved alcohol or students pulling fire alarms. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, College visitors committed most of the weekend’s illegal activity.
This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections.
An earlier version of this article misstated that EMS would focus on freshman activities over Carnival weekend and that the College's new alcohol policies were implemented to address freshman drinking habits. EMS responds to all campus emergencies and does not focus on a specific group.