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Campus Bar Safety

By: Alexander Winton

In the wake of the assault at Kam's in September, University of Illinois students are encouraged by police to ensure the safety of themselves and others while partying and drinking at bars. The senior director of strategic communications at the university’s Division of Public Safety Patrick Wade warns that bars can be a breeding ground for uncomfortable situations and even violence. He attributes this primarily to the overconsumption of readily available alcohol.

“Consuming alcohol is a big part of the college experience and we have no problem with that… But what we don't want to see is students getting so intoxicated, that they're making those bad decisions or getting into situations where they can't defend themselves,” he said.

Wade says while limiting your own consumption of alcohol is important, a student’s duty often goes beyond that.

“Be a good bystander. If your friend is getting into a situation where they're over-intoxicated, or maybe they are provoking other people, saying things that's going to get them into a fight, or if it's okay for you to step in and tell off your friend. That can prevent people from getting hurt.”

Wade clarified that this problem isn’t exclusive to bars but anywhere there’s an abundance of alcohol.

“I don't think the business itself is the problem, it's when the individuals inside the business take advantage of the availability of alcohol. If it's a house party or an apartment party, we see the same issues.”

Wade did acknowledge that violence is more likely at bars because of the intermixing of strangers.

Wade also said that drinking inside bars is liable to have consequences on the outside.

“These issues extend beyond the bar. We see crimes on the street; fights happening outside on the sidewalk or students becoming victims of robbery. If someone's going out to look for someone to rob, they're going to target the student who appears so intoxicated because they can't protect themselves,” he said.

Wade stressed the importance of having a sober friend accompanying you on a walk back from the bar to avoid complications.

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