September 15, 2011

Cornell Sees Stronger Stream of Public Urination Violations

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Cornell University Police reported 13 incidents of exposures of a person and two incidents of public urination on campus last weekend. Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner said that more incidents were reported likely due to increased Cornell Police surveillance on campus, not an increase in illegal activity among students and community members.

“It’s actually not that strange a number,” Zoner said. “It comes with the territory of people drinking and not paying attention to what their physical needs are and thinking public peeing is the way to handle it.”

Spanning between 12:46 a.m. on Sept. 10 and 1:41 a.m. on Sept. 11, the string of exposure charges did not appear to be related to any form of hazing, Zoner said.

“We had increased enforcement out for the last three weekends; you see a steadily increasing amount of those types of charges,” she said. “We’re trying to send a message out early to folks that abuse and the activities that are connected to that are not going to be tolerated.”

Four people were referred to Ithaca City Court. The remaining individuals were referred to the Judicial Administrator.

Zoner said that any student caught urinating in public could be charged with “exposure of a person,” under 245.01 of New York state penal law. However, according to Zoner, judicial sanctions are not charges in the municipal court system and will not show up as arrests on a background check.

Cornell police have also been increasing their patrols of the campus gorges to deter illegal swimming, she said.

“Maybe if people knew how much others urinated in the creeks, we wouldn’t have such a problem keeping people from swimming illegally in the gorge,” Zoner said.

Original Author: Byron Kittle