UTPD advises new freshmen on following the law

Alberto Long

Although UT and Austin police are aware of partying during freshman orientation, authorities said there are no extraordinary safety measures planned for each event.

UT Police Department spokeswoman Cynthia Posey said the UT Police Department will instead focus on educating students during information sessions at all freshman orientations between June 5 to July 10 on ways to prevent crime on campus and use available safety resources. Austin Police Department officials said the Austin police will not take any additional measures to cover orientation.

Even though UTPD is treating orientation like any other UT event, UTPD officer Darrell Halstead said he is warning students to follow the law during orientation and their time at UT. The top crimes committed at orientation include theft, public intoxication, consumption by a minor, criminal mischief and driving while intoxicated, Halstead said.

“I’m not going to call their mama, I’m not going to call their dad,” Halstead said. “They’re going to go see a judge.”  

If a student commits a crime on campus, Halstead said it could increase a student’s chances of being dismissed and UT would follow-up with the student.

According to UTPD, a UTPD officer caught three orientation participants with fake licenses on Guadalupe Street on Friday morning.

The officer observed one student throwing up and issued the student a citation for consumption of alcohol by a minor. The students claimed they were on their way back from Sixth Street and admitted to having fake licenses. The UTPD officer gave the students verbal warnings for having fake licenses, the report said.

Safety resources for students include the Campus Watch newsletter, SURE Walk and the Rape Aggression Defense classes offered by UTPD, Halstead said. Halstead gave a presentation to new students on these programs Wednesday.

SURE Walk is a campus-wide program operated by UT Student Government. In the program, student volunteers accompany students, faculty and staff who are on campus late to their dorms or cars. The Rape Aggression Defense class is a free self-defense class.

For any students thinking about sneaking off during orientation, Halstead had one thing to say:

“It’s going to be embarrassing to start their first day of college with a request to see the Dean of Students,” Halstead said.

Additional reporting by News Editor Jody Serrano. 

Follow Alberto Long on Twitter @albertolong.