Rissberger said he saw young people heading downtown on Saturday as early as 9 a.m., dressed in green. He was concerned that the students would not be pacing themselves, he said, and that partying “that much” was not healthy. Getting black-out drunk shouldn’t be looked at as a positive pursuit or a humorous activity, he added.
“As any health professional will tell you, blacking out is the first sign of a serious problem,” Rissberger said. “ Anything could happen while being blacked out ... it’s not funny.”
Oneonta police chief Dennis Nayor said the force was busy Saturday, with arrests for underage drinking, DWI, disorderly conduct and noise violations, but he added that his force had been prepared for the “holiday” with increased police patrols.
As for the Red Jug Pub’s post, Nayor said he thought it was inappropriate and, potentially, prohibited.
“I will be conferring with the state liquor authority,” Nayor said.
Common Council member Mike Lynch called the Instagram post “nonsense,” but said it was not surprising. There are two types of bar owners in Oneonta, he said: ones who do a good job at controlling binge drinking and policing underage drinkers, and ones who make their money from it.
“It’s hard to make a living for an honest, law-abiding tavern keeper in Oneonta because they are at a competitive disadvantage to those bars that sell to minors and don’t cut people off when they’ve had too much,” Lynch said.
Hal Legg, SUNY Oneonta’s director of communications, said his first thoughts after seeing the Instagram post and subsequent “#st.oney’sday” tweets and pictures were as a parent who would be mortified if he saw his child participating in the antics.
As a college official, Legg said, “We don’t find anything humorous or clever about blacking out.”
“It looks like the St. Oney’s Day hashtag on Twitter,” Legg said, “is ... a catalog of really bad decision-making.”