Nudity, alcohol, beads and all that was a part of past Mardi Gras was the topic of discussion at the Student Community Liaison Committee Thursday afternoon at the San Luis Obispo City Hall.
Vice President for Student Affairs Cornel Morton said the community and the students have made headway from 2004 by “creating distance” from those events.
“Students collectively know how best to spend their time,” Morton said. “We want to send the message to first- and second-year students who are more subject to be caught up in this. We need to take care of the safety of fellow students.”
One of the messages is well-known to most students on the Cal Poly campus: “The Party is Still Over.”
Ardith Tregenza, San Luis Obispo Police Department neighborhood services manager, reflected during the meeting that this year’s concern or approach is that students have helped Mardi Gras calm down in recent years.
This might also be due to the special laws enforced during Mardi Gras week, which this year is between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6, when fines for offenses are tripled.
Most of the committee concluded that the celebratory events of Mardi Gras 2004 are still a thing of the past. However, the SLOPD will have about 100 officers working from the police station, rather than the 120 officers stationed at Santa Rosa Park last year.
With help from the Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol, officers will run grant-funded DUI checkpoints in San Luis Obispo around major traffic areas.
Associated Students Inc. President Brandon Souza noted that student activities have decreased since the riots of 2004, which he says is a good thing.
“It was an intense experience for everyone involved that time and a rough time for students and the community as the relationship they had with one another got out of hand,” Souza said.
Souza noted there had been a Facebook group started this year by an on-campus student proposing the return of a 2004-style Mardi Gras celebration; the group was shut down by City of San Luis Obispo officials.
“These riots from four years ago put residents in a hard position,” Souza said. “Working together on ‘The Party is Still Over’ keeps San Luis Obispo a safe place for college students.”