Busted for booze: Students get caught off campus


Photo illustration by Coty Giannelli.

Max Secre

Read about students getting caught drinking on campus here.

Students who bar-hop on weekends probably don’t plan on ending their night in handcuffs.

Michquel Penn, community resource officer at the Kent State Police Department, said usually at least five students are arrested for off-campus alcohol-related activities.

Rachel, whose name has been changed upon her request, said college isn’t just about drinking — although most students chose to spend their time and money on drinking.

“People act like when you come to college you’re supposed to be partying and doing things like that, but realistically there are plenty of other things to do,” Rachel said. “Even though it is part of the Kent State culture, I guess, you still have to be smart.”

Risks of off-campus drinking

Mark, whose name has been changed upon his request, explained some of the risks that students face when going off campus intoxicated.

“We usually started drinking in the dorms, but once you leave, the risks are everywhere,” Mark said. “You have to watch out for cops, other drunk people trying to start fights, other security and just the risk of being underage and being drunk.”

Mark explained a time when he and a friend were drinking and found themselves in a middle of a serious confrontation.

After a few hours of drinking, a fight broke out between Mark and his friends and a group of people. He said he called the cops, and an ambulance had to take his friend to the hospital to be treated for head injuries.

“Once the cops came they were more concerned about everyone drinking underage than what happened to me and my friend,” he said. “I had two broken ribs, a broken nose and bruises.”

Getting caught

Penn said individuals who try to go out of their way to not be seen are the ones who usually get caught.

“Suspicious movement is something we look at,” Penn said. “I had a kid one time in cargo pants with cans in his pants. I had a person who lived in a residence hall — this particular female was unloading the alcohol from her trunk into her laundry basket right in front of the building.”

Penn said disorderly conduct is another thing that can give an underage student away.

“Students can get caught for their behavior if they are being obnoxious or are already noticeably drunk, and we find out that some of these individuals are underage,” Penn said. “If we spot a red cup in public with alcohol that is enough to get somebody.”

Penn said a student can be caught underage if when they can’t wait to get back to their residence hall to use the bathroom, so they go in public.

Another public place where students get caught: bars.

Mike Beder, owner of the Water Street Tavern, said students often try to get into the bar with a fake ID.

“We’ll confiscate the ID and turn them away, and if they make an issue out of it we will call the police,” Beder said. “The liquor law is that the bartender is supposed to see an ID for every drink that they serve. If it is an 18-and-over bar and someone orders multiple shots, then they are supposed to request an ID for every shot ordered.”

Beder said that this practice doesn’t occur every time, and it can be hard to monitor, so it is easier for the Water Street Tavern to not deal with anyone under age 21.


Mark said one night of fun on College Street ended up being one of his biggest regrets.

“I was drinking a couple of beers, some Smirnoff and a little bit of everything,” he said. “I was walking up a flight of stairs going to my dorm at Dunbar when two campus security at the top of the stairs stopped me and asked me if I had been drinking. I said, ‘Yes,’ so they wrote me a ticket and dropped me off at my dorm.”

Mark ended up paying a $300 fine, and he had to do 30 hours of community service and take an alcohol prevention class.

Students who are drinking underage run the risk of being charged with consumption, possession and attempting to purchase, all of which are first-degree offenses, said Carol Crimi, managing attorney at Kent State Student Legal Services.

She recommends that anyone accused speak with an attorney before doing anything. The Bursar’s office charges $9 a semester for a student to be eligible for student legal services. It does not cost them any more if they choose to come in and use the services.

Student opinions

Rachel dealt with the consequences of underage drinking when she had a party at her house on Halloween.

“All of us were underage,” Rachel said. “It ended up being a pretty big party. There was a fight that drew attention and the cops came … even though they told me it had nothing to do with the people that lived there, I ended up being put under arrest.”

Rachel ended up having numerous charges filed against her for throwing the party and drinking underage.

“It was a real pain in the ass,” she said. “Some people think it’s cool and will talk about their arrests like some badge of honor, and it’s definitely not cool. It’s not fun, and it’s definitely not something to be proud of.”

Rachel said she was lucky to have a prosecutor, so she could be put into the diversion program. She ended up with three misdemeanors against her, had to complete 16 hours of community service and pay a fine.

Rachel said the situation was really tough for her to deal with.

“I had to miss class to attend the program and do community service, and it’s so awkward having to tell your teacher that’s the reason you’re missing class,” she said. “I never even had a detention in high school, and because I had never been in trouble it was really hard for me to deal with mentally.”

Contact Max Secre at [email protected].