Colby bar night ends with five citations for underage drinking

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Bar night is an event that Colby students look forward to attending on Thursday nights. No matter where it is held, a large number of Colby students always flock to that location for an evening of off-campus fun with their classmates. Colby students are generally known for being well-behaved and respectful and the night usually goes well, with students leaving the bar in good spirits, and the bar ending the night with a profit. However, on November 19, 2015, the night did not end as well. End Zone employees and Waterville police were all forced to take action,when a number of underage Colby students were caught trying to get into the bar with fake identification cards.

The End Zone, a sports bar located in Waterville, is a favorite bar night venue for many students with its relaxed yet fun atmosphere. Employees from The End Zone told The Echo earlier this year how much they like Colby students and enjoy hosting Colby bar night. However, as the law enforces, only people 21 years or older are allowed to enter the End Zone on a Thursday night.

On this particular night, many Colby students attempted to get into the bar using fake IDs which stated that they were 21 years old or older. Waterville Police Sergeant Charles Rumsey told The Echo that on November 19, five students were caught and charged with possessing false identification. Rumsey explained that the incident began when a Waterville police officer observed a male subject outside the End Zone drinking a beer. He approached the boy and discovered that he was in possession of a fake ID. From there, the officer talked to the owner of the End Zone and then began to check the IDs of students who were already in the bar, a few of which he found to be fake.

A number of Colby students who arrived after the start of the incident explained that upon seeing the cop cars and officers around the venue decided it was best to return to campus. While the night continued, and all students over the age of 21 were still able to enter the bar and enjoy their night, the incident with students’ fake identification left both students and police officers in less than happy situations and put a damper on the growing relationship between Colby and Waterville.

While the local community and police department are unhappy that minors are attempting to break the law and causing such disturbances in Waterville, many Colby students are also unhappy about the incident and the involvement of the Police Department. An anonymous Colby student said: “I do not understand why the police need to even be involved. If a bouncer or manager decides that a minor is intending on entering their bar, they should tell them to leave or confiscate their fake-if they please-and ask them to leave. It is unnecessary to have the police involved in my opinion.”

Many other Colby students, who have also chosen to stay anonymous, explained to The Echo their frustration with the occurrence and their feeling that the Waterville police know Colby students are going to the bar on Thursday nights and are trying to get them in trouble.These issues of police involvement stem much farther than the Waterville community and police department. 

The Echo was able to speak to one of the students who werecharged with possession of false identification. This student explained their feeling that although the event seemed unjust, they was very respectful and the police respected that and did not try to get them in any more trouble than the minimum for what he/she had committed.

As is the case on most college campuses, underage drinking certainly has a presence and is an issue. At a school as small as Colby, it may be particularly hard for certain students to refrain from such behavior, as it is more likely for them to know and be friends with older students who can legally drink and attend bar night. However, once this illegal behavior leaves the campus, it begins to affect the Waterville community and the consequences therefore may become more severe. Certain Colby students told The Echo that  after the incident, underage students will be much more scared and skeptical of using false identification to get into local bars now, especially if they see a cop around.

This is not Colby’s first run in with fake IDs or underage drinking. In 2013, over eighty students were given summons for underage drinking after an off-campus party. The use of fake IDs is not solely a recent fad on the Hill either; in 2005, Waterville police summoned fourteen students for the use of fake identification.

Colby’s policy on fake IDs is unclear; the handbook states “false identification is a violation of state law and will also result in disciplinary action,” and the issue is not discussed at orientation. An anonymous senior told The Echo that during her first year at Colby, when she lost her wallet and someone turned it turned into security, a security officer told her that they had discovered her fake identification card in her wallet. After she asked if they were allowed to go through her wallet, they it back to her, but they kept her fake ID and told her she would be hearing from the deans. Despite this, the student never heard anything from any members of the college’s administration.

Today, the use of false identification is not an issue that is specific to Waterville, but rather an issue that is present in many areas throughout the country, especially in areas with colleges. In 2008, the president of Middlebury College, John McCardell, started the Amethyst Initiative, which calls upon the United States government to “rethink the drinking age,” citing that the drinking age of 21 forces students to make ethical compromises by using fake identification and engaging in underage drinking. 136 college presidents have signed the petition, including the presidents of Hamilton and Trinity Colleges. In 2009, when asked about the initiative by The Echo, former President William Adams said, “As president, I was asked to endorse the initiative. I declined because I am not persuaded that lowering the drinking age will have a significant effect on dangerous drinking at colleges and universities. I am also worried about other public policy implications of lowering the drinking age.”

These summons have left a lasting impact. Several underage students that frequently attend bar night told The Echo that they will not be attending this Thursday night at Cancun, and are now wary of going off campus before they turn 21.

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