Most students want to start a new school year on a positive note, but that wasn’t the case for some students who attended parties during the Week of Welcome, Cal Poly’s orientation program.

The University Police Department (UPD) gave 42 citations and arrested 43 people between move-in day Sept. 12 and Sept. 21. Stock Photo

UPD Chief Bill Watton said almost all of the arrests and citations were for alcohol-related incidences.

Watton also said that UPD increased patrols for the Week of Welcome and the first few weeks of school.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department also issued more than 80 citations from Sept. 10 to Sept. 21, including 49 citations for open containers, 16 for noise violations and 12 for urinating in public. The San Luis Obispo Police Department also arrested more than 25 people for a variety of offenses, including public intoxication, driving under the influence, one case of driving under the influence that resulted in an injury, battery and resisting arrest.

There were also two Cal Poly students arrested for trespassing early Sunday and Monday mornings, according to a press release from the San Luis Obispo Police Department. Both students did not know where they were; the disorientation was the result of alcohol intoxication.

San Luis Obispo police Capt. Ian Parkenson said, despite the tone of the university that the amount of patrolling was about the same as in previous years. He added that while this year’s activity was about the same as in past years it began earlier.

“We noticed problems starting on Saturday this year after the end of the football game,” he said.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department and UPD did not have the total number of arrests and citations for the Week of Welcome last year.
Area hospitals saw an increase in traffic during Week of Welcome festivities. Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center spokesperson Ron Yukelson said that the hospital had seen a “sharp spike” in alcohol-related incidents since Week of Welcome began. It treated one individual who had a blood alcohol content of .38, extremely close to the .39 to .45 percent of recently deceased Cal Poly student Carson Starkey.

Yukelson said the hospital wants to combat the fear and anxiety some students might feel about seeking medical help for friends or loved ones. “It’s very important to bring in friends and loved ones who are severely intoxicated—don’t let them sleep or put them to bed—bring them in,” he said.

Furthermore, Yukelson stressed the hospital’s ‘safe zone’ policy, which protects underage drinkers from police intervention.

“We’re a safe zone, so you don’t need to worry about us calling your parents or the police,” he said.

The office of university president Warren Baker sent a campus-wide e-mail Wednesday informing students of acceptable partying practices, encouraging them to keep gatherings under control by calling campus police if they see illegal behavior.

The e-mail urged students to make “wise and responsible choices” including checking IDs at the door of parties to ensure no underage individuals are drinking alcohol.

Student Affairs also sent out an e-mail on Friday about a student who was kicked out of his dorm just a few hours after moving in when he was caught smoking marijuana.

The total number of residents evicted from the dorms was not provided by the time of publication.

Join the Conversation


  1. I did not know that the Week of Welcome program had raging alcohol fueled parties as part of its program activities. Oh wait, it doesn’t!
    Let’s get the facts straight. WOW ran from Tuesday 9/15 to Saturday 9/19. Therefore, the problems that happened right after the football game, not related to WOW.

    Orientation leaders are required to stay with their WOWies until 11pm, except on Saturday when it was 1am Sunday morning. WOW is a drug and alcohol free program, with strict consequences for leaders who do not abide by the rules. If WOW groups dismiss at 11pm most nights, then how are these incidents the fault of WOW?

    For your article to state, “Area hospitals saw an increase in traffic during Week of Welcome festivities.” is very irresponsible. Week of Welcome festivities were not the reason for this upswing in alcohol related injuries. In fact, it was probably the reason why there were not more or more serious injuries because of its awareness presentations on the subject of substance abuse.

    Where is the evidence stating that all those injured were Cal Poly students, freshmen, or even WOW participants?

  2. I used to be an editor for the Mustang Daily and I also used to be part of the wonderful WOW Team that plans a lot of the week’s events. None of the events are alcohol related. I am ashamed that this article was published and not edited more closely. This article connects WOW with the horrible events that happened during that time. Yes, WOW coincided with that week. No, WOW was not the reason those things happened. Do you honestly think that a 50-year, successful, drug and alcohol free program is to blame for these events? No. That is all on the people that chose to go out and party irresponsibly.

  3. I know that I may sound like a broken record, but it is very disheartening to read yet another article portraying the Week of Welcome program in a bad light. Not only is the Week of Welcome not associated with the arrests and hospital admittances, but you are making a huge logical fallacy by saying that these things are related to the WOW program in any way. Maybe you did not participate in WOW events, but because of my experience as a WOW leader, I know firsthand that we try our very hardest to educate the freshman about the dangers of alcohol among numerous other things. We as leaders are responsible for our WOWies from 7am to 11pm every day for those 5 days that they’re with us. It should be noted that the arrests and hospital admittances took place at a time after WOW events were done for the day. It should also be noted that the students who were having problems with alcohol may or may not have been Cal Poly students or WOW participants, and were most definitely not participating in a WOW event at the time. What needs to be distinguished is the difference between the WOW program itself and the unfortunate things that happen during the same week. You are using oversimplification when you decide to associate the Week of Welcome with the horrible events that happened during the time frame of the WOW program.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.