Saturday, December 4, 2021

MSUPD takes firm stance against tailgating; ELPD officers to issue fines for gatherings

October 14, 2020
Campus on Sept. 18, 2020. MSU has put up large posters around campus to encourage students and the community to practice social distancing and wear masks.
Campus on Sept. 18, 2020. MSU has put up large posters around campus to encourage students and the community to practice social distancing and wear masks. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Michigan State University Police Department (MSUPD) issued a statement prohibiting tailgating in all parking lots and campus areas for the upcoming football season.

The decision was made based on the health and safety of Spartans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, MSUPD officers will strictly enforce University Ordinance 21.03.

"Open alcohol on campus is a violation of MSU Ordinance 21.03, which is a misdemeanor offense," MSUPD Capt. Chris Rozman said. "Somebody could be issued a citation to appear at East Lansing 54-B District Court."

The MSU Community Compact, which details mandatory masks and social distancing guidelines, will also be enforced.

"We will be working with our campus partners to enforce that," Rozman said. "The primary enforcement mechanism for the violations of the campus compact are through the MSU student judicial system."

Spartans have entirely avoided gatherings on campus. However, Rozman said the department has been notified about gatherings in the city of East Lansing, outside of its jurisdiction.

East Lansing cracks down on gatherings

On Tuesday, East Lansing City Council passed a resolution requiring gathering limit compliance. Gatherings are limited to up to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors.

Failure to comply could result in a $500 fine.

During a meeting with council, newly appointed East Lansing Police Chief Kim Johnson said officers are prepared to issue citations this weekend. Johnson also instructed the local court to process these tickets.

"So, that's a little bit of a departure from where we were before on some of these issues earlier in the school year," Deputy Chief Steve Gonzalez said. "We had initially taken an educational approach. ... With this new ordinance, we do intend on enforcing it as it's written. And, there will not be an automatic first-time warning."

Officers are expected to respond to calls of ordinance violations with citations, Gonzalez said.

As of Wednesday, 26 city gatherings have violated current limits. Gonzalez said a few were repeat offenses and many involved students.

"We look forward to a good football season, and we encourage all Spartans to watch the game from the comfort of their own home in a safe way," Rozman said.

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