Public Safety confiscates Newman's Day shirts
Public Safety officers entered a 1901 Hall room on Friday and confiscated 400 Newman's Day shirts, University officials and students who were there said.
Director of Public Safety Steven Healy said in an interview today that Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan instructed two Public Safety officers to enter the room around 3 p.m. Friday and take the shirts to her office.
The development comes after a week of national attention on the Newman's Day tradition — held today — in which some students try to drink 24 beers in 24 hours. The lawyer of Paul Newman, the actor, whose son died of a drug overdose, recently contacted the University to ask it to take measures to stop the Newman's Day tradition.
The students involved said they bought the shirts for $2,000 and were to sell them to students to wear today. One had the slogan: "If found, return to McCosh Health Center." Another had a picture of Newman's face and the quote, "24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not."
The Associated Press reported Friday that the Pi Kappa Alpha (PKA) fraternity had already begun selling Newman's Day t-shirts.
But a person familiar with Friday's incident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: "The fraternity denies any connection with or association with the selling or production of the t-shirts in question."
The administration learned about the plans to sell the shirts just after noon on Friday, when a sophomore, Cleland Welton, forwarded an advertisement for the shirts to an email list that he did not realize included Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students Maria Flores-Mills, he said.
Less than three hours later, several students were in a four-person suite in 1901 Hall when two Public Safety officers knocked on the door, students who were there and Public Safety said. After being told to enter, the officers identified themselves and asked to speak with a resident of the suite.
Associate Director of Public Safety Duncan Harrison stepped outside with Taylor Bright '05, the only resident present, to explain why the shirts were being confiscated, Harrison said.
Bright said that he was told he was violating University policy by promoting a drinking game and engaging in unauthorized solicitation. Harrison declined to confirm that was the reason he confiscated the shirts.
However, he said that violations of the University's alcohol policy, which University regulations say occur "when serving of alcohol encourages excessive drinking (e.g. drinking games)," would include the promotion of drinking games.
He added that whenever someone on campus sells merchandise, it can be confiscated if it is not approved by the dean. Deignan could not be reached for comment.
Immediately after the shirts were taken, Bright and two other students said they went to see Deignan to try to recover the property. Bright said he was told by Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students Hilary Herbold that Deignan, who had the shirts, had left the office for the day. He said Herbold said they would meet Monday morning to decide further action.
Herbold could not be reached for comment.
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