Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Temple a hotspot for the PA Liquor Control Board, possible focal point of "College Enforcement Initiative"

This weekend, make sure you hide your booze and lock your doors; the Pennsylvania LCB, arch nemesis of frats and house parties everywhere, has arrived. You may have heard about the large scale underage drinking bust at Haverford college earlier this month, where 31 students were cited for underage drinking.

What you may not know is that so far this year, over ONE HUNDRED citations for underage drinking were given out to students at Temple parties. On one street, undercover liquor control board agents broke up a number of parties, handed out citations, and charged the residents of the homes with operating a speakeasy, a misdemeanor offense. The students were not checking IDs or anything of that nature. Unfortunately, the city's department of License and Inspection then evicted those students for not being properly zoned. If you drink or throw parties in college, your "oh shit" meter should be approaching 9 right about now.

What you also may not know about is something called the "College Enforcement Initiative," a new effort by state police to kill the fun of college students everywhere. This article by the Daily Gazette of Swathmore is a great piece that interviewed state cops and got to the meat of things. We suggest you read the whole article, but here are the most important quotes:

"College Enforcement Initiative, which entails an enhanced enforcement focus on underage drinking at colleges. La Torre, Commander of the district office for Delaware, Chester, and Philadelphia counties, said that the purpose of that initiative is to “get the word out” on college campuses about the penalties for underage drinking."

"The goal of the program, said La Torre, is to make a series of highly visible alcohol “busts” at various colleges and universities in the area, especially during September and October. The hope is that students will realize “what the penalties are” and then be able to “make an informed decision” about whether to drink."

"Some schools, including Temple University, have requested the state police’s assistance in dealing with underage drinking problems on campus."

"If the department receives a tip or requests for help from anyone, they will look into it, as they did in the Haverford incident. In those situations, La Torre said that his unit “does a full investigation, using all resources available”—including Facebook."

So what does this mean? They're looking to make examples out of kids, they aren't bullshitting, Temple asked for their help, and now they're here.

Oh, just a couple of thoughts on this one:

1- The 21 drinking age is one of the dumbest laws on the books. Supply vs. Demand. Attacking the supply side never works, you must work on the demand. Kids are going to drink. Period. When you make the drinking age 21, all it does is drive kids into house parties and basements, where not only will they be afraid to seek help in the case of emergencies, but also develop damaging habits such as binge drinking. Want to stop kids from throwing huge parties in their houses? Lower the drinking age to 18 and let them go out to bars, where legal regulations are already setup. Let them drink with their parents before they go to off to college, so they know how to behave when under the influence. Don't believe me because I'm just some college kid? Ask John McCardell, President-Emeritus of Middlebury College, and 134 other college presidents and chancellors who came to the same conclusion last year.

2- Temple asked for their help? That's kinda fucked up. The above mentioned article interviewed many members of the Haverford administration, who had a very realistic take, focusing on providing events, counseling, and other services to cut down on the demand side of underage drinking. That would be the smart thing to do. Doesn't Temple realize that one of the main reasons their enrollment is growing, particularly among suburban populations, is because kids are recognizing that Temple is a fun time? If kids are scared to come here because of a Temple-LCB collaboration and kids getting in trouble all the time, they're not going to come here.

3- Not to mention trust. Temple will soon be rolling out a new student code of conduct, and will be asking or student help in reaching out to the communities. What Temple student wants to help Temple with that when they're pulling stuff like this?

4- There is a flip side to this. Temple police receive hundreds of community complaints each year for noise violations, including close to 40 in the last two weeks alone. Temple students need to do a better job of keeping themselves inside and not pissing/yelling in neighbor's yards. However, this is something that should be dealt with by the Temple Police, university, and UDC, not the LCB who charges kids with crimes and puts them up for eviction.

5- The university, as mentioned, is now showing signs that they will help correct this situation. If the 2020 plan goes through as planned, students will have much more to do on campus, including living here, so many of these community issues will hopefully be alleviated. Student activities and MCPB also host weekly events that offer something else for students to do, and are definitely improving in this department. Enlisting the help of the LCB in the short term is not a valuable piece of the puzzle, instead it's just shooting yourself in the foot.

6- These state police are completely wrong in their thinking. You're going to let kids make "informed decisions" i.e. try and scare them into not going out? Yea, bossing kids around is always received well. "21 is the law and that's final. We don't make the laws just enforce them." That doesn't make any sense. Sure that's your job, but if society thought that way about every law you know how many stupid, ineffective laws we would still have on the books? Not only is this law ineffective, but it is HARMFUL (refer to point 1).

So kids, except for the 2% of you who will now choose not to go out and drink this weekend, make sure you are attending parties that are running a tight ship, checking IDs, and don't have a million people flooding the streets, at least until the end of October. If you get a bad feeling, i.e. some weird loner dude who looks totally out of place, just leave.

Thoughts anyone?

15 comments:

biracial said...

fuck the drinking age. there are 18 year olds more responsible with their drinking than the middle aged men at football games. seriously? why is the U.S. so retarded.

Anonymous said...

There is a serious organization with over 130 university presidents backing it up that is trying to push the drinking age back to 18 and inform the public on the facts of drinking. Check out the site:

chooseresponsibility.org

They have been on nearly every major news network and paper. We should have a protest at the Bell Tower soon to get out the information. The goverment has been lying to you, and MADD statistics are out of date and incorrect. Let me know if anyone's interested! and btw I live on the block that was busted. I slammed my door on an undercovers face. Fight the Power.

Anonymous said...

As an education major I understand the countries thought as to not lowering the age to 18 as most people turn 18 in high school and that will be a nightmare. But 19 sounds like a great age to allow us to start drinking this will take away from the college underage drinking which at this point in time is our problem.

Trish said...

I think this is GREAT. It doesn't matter if someone doesn't agree with a law...as long as it's a law you obey, if you don't...you get punished. I've seen WAY too many Temple students taken to the hopsital because they were irresponsible with drinking. And even more so because they knew it was illegal and didn't want to get into trouble so instead they thought they could 'wait it out'. The drinking is out of control on campus and it is those ON CAMPUS who have to deal with it so I can understand them being upset. Now if you wanna be irresponsible and get trashed at your own home...by all means. But I'm here at Temple for an EDUCATION. And that's why more people are enrolling. People aren't going to pay the jacked up tuition to have a party...they're paying cause they want a future.

CandW said...

Hey everyone thanks for your comments. We can see both sides of the issue, on one hand students do act irresponsibly while drinking, on the other hand having the drinking age set at 21 isn't doing anything but pushing kids into house parties.

Kinda like the chicken and the egg, you have to figure out what came first. We're of the belief that the law came first and forced this situation. Before the law was passed in 1984, the idea of 18 year-olds drinking was considered normal. MADD became a powerful lobby group and convinced congress to pass the national law. It's not like 50% of the country wanted it. Since then the fatality rates between 18-21 have decreased slightly(depending on who you talk to) but 21-24 has gone up, and bad drinking habits like binge drinking and alcohol poisioning have gone through the roof.

Agreed 18 might give you problems with high school kids, but at least then they are still under supervision. A year buffer from when one can drink to when one is on their own would do a world of good to let parents socialize kids into how alcohol should properly be used.

So Trish, we believe lowering the drinking age to 18 would actually cut back on a significant amount of irresponsible drinking and behavior. When a law exists that hinders a solution to the problem, it's no longer a useful law but actually an obstacle. An obstacle that too many are not willing to acknowledge. I was one of eight students who came from my highschool in 2006. Every year more and more come, and it's because they recognize Temple as a major University, with the growing social component a huge factor.

Anonymous said...

People come to college TO drink and party, people DONT come to Temple because they don't want to get robbed/raped/stabbed because this is a terrible area. theres no denying that. the locals should be fucking thankful that temple is here, and there is heightened security, nicer buildings, better lighting, etc. etc. Without Temple, this area is a complete slum just like the rest of majority of north philly. A great greek scene, party scene, and lots of kids living on campus (which would meanwild parties/ drinking) would only HELP Temple. This is incredibly dumb for Temple to basically ARREST its own students,for doing what kids at EVERY OTHER COLLEGE ARE doing and put arrets on our record, which screws people out of jobs/internships... OF COURSE WE AREE GOING TO DRINK, ITS FUCKING COLLEGE. Now kids are going to sit in their dorm rooms and smoke more weed...have fucking fun with this, a shitty nightlife at school is going to make applicants and incoming freshman go down. This school already has a bad reputation of being in a bad area, we need to get drunk to not be afraid to walk around areas where people were murdered weeks before. this was a completee

Trish said...

I suppose I could agree to a lower drinking age, except that those of a lower age have done nothing but act irresponsibly to date. I would feel uncomfortable allowing them to drink because they don't act trustworthy.

Also, college does NOT = Drinking. Now I may suck at math...but that's something I'm pretty sure is true. Now if you guys feel that drinking is all there is to college, then I am very, very sorry. Believe it or not but there are more students here than you think that don't drink (or smoke weed..cause that's also illegal) and are fine with it. Doing all that stuff just puts your grades at risk, which puts future jobs and interships at risk too. And if you need to get drunk to feel safe about walking around campus, then I feel very, VERY sorry for you because that will only put you more at risk cause it makes you an easier target. Alcohol doesn't solve problems, it only helps to create them.

Anonymous said...

"I suppose I could agree to a lower drinking age, except that those of a lower age have done nothing but act irresponsibly to date. I would feel uncomfortable allowing them to drink because they don't act trustworthy."

Except that Europe has a much lower legal drinking age than we do and has few problems with kids binging and driving drunk than we do.

The issue, I think, is the drinking culture. Many kids come from HS to Temple never having had any drinking experience or any parental guidance in the matter. For many the topic is a taboo. So when they hit college and booze is everywhere they finally get their hands of the "forbidden fruit" and go wild.

What I think we should do is lower the drinking age for people who have taken a comprehensive alcohol course. If the person doesn't want to take it they can wait till their 21.

Alternatively, if we lower it gradually and stop making it such a big deal it might lose its luster.

In most other countries alcohol consumption begins in the teens as a family thing. A little wine at dinner, some beer in a restaurant, and before you know it the kids get used to it and it stops being a big deal.

Christina said...

First, no one said anything about getting drunk to walk around CAMPUS. Getting drunk to walk around the area where parties are, is what was said. Which unfortunately we all know, is NOT campus.

No one truly believes college is equal to drinking and THAT'S ALL. Yes, obviously we are paying tuition and are here to get an education. We know. You can deny all you want that drinking and college have no correlation. But the reality is that the majority of college student DO do a lot of drinking, underage or above.
And that's peachy that there are people who don't partake in illegal activities. Good for them. Everyone has different ideas of "fun" or "relaxing" or "a good time."

The bottom line is yes the cops ARE just doing their jobs, and sure most would agree the drinking age should be lowered. But why doesn't Temple make some requests on more adequate and more quickly developed student housing? As opposed to requesting to bust all the kids who are already risking their lives every day living where they are off-campus, and now getting fined, evicted, and charged as criminals at the same time. I think the surrounding area and PROTECTING students instead of convicting them, is a bit more of a trying issue at this point.

CandW said...

Thanks again for your comments everyone. As one anonymous person said, Europe doesn't have a drinking age and this works for them. Not necessarily so. Europe has a drinking age of 18 and they still have a pretty major issue with binge drinking, especially among people our ages and at their universities.

We think it's much more the culture and education of the individuals involved. The 21 law and rigid enforcement doesn't work, but just getting rid of the drinking age all together probably isn't the best approach either. Something as you mentioned, like a drinking education course, might go a long way, where youngsters can learn about alcohol from that first, and then apply it by going out for a beer with Mom and Dad.

Christina, we agree completely about your statements about campus. As we mentioned in our post, the University is making it a priority to build a high-rise dorm, green space, and a new student activities building on campus as part of their 2020 plan. They realize they can't just keep sprawling. However, that is so far down the road, and the question is what can you do until then?

Increased efforts of student activities including more funding so they can provide more city trips (take buses to night clubs, sports games, stuff kids will really want to do) is one thing, so that students don't just party off campus. More trustworthy communication between cops, students, and administration would also help to basically tell students, OK we're not going to get you in trouble, we understand, but you have to abide by our guidelines.

Of course lowering the drinking age, in our opinion, takes care of a lot of these problems. Bringing the LCB to campus, now that's just about the worse idea.

Anonymous said...

anyone know if the lcb is gonna be on campus this weekend?

Anonymous said...

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced an alleged breakthrough in research on alcohol policy. According to the DOJ, a comparison of drinking rates among American and European teenagers proved that those in Europe, with its generally more moderate alcohol attitudes and laws, lead to more alcohol problems. (A)

Yet even a quick analysis of the DOJ’s report reveals that it does not stand up to scrutiny. The report never went through peer reviews, the process in which other researchers evaluate a study’s legitimacy before it can get published. In fact, the DOJ report was never published. The Department used outdated survey numbers even though newer ones were available, and its European figures left out several important countries.

What’s more, even the numbers the Department did use don’t back up its claims. American teenagers had a higher rate of intoxication than did their counterparts in half of the European countries. When compared with teenagers in Southern Europe, which has very liberal views and practices regarding alcohol, American teenagers were more likely to have been drunk in the last 30 days (21 percent vs. 13 percent). And while more than half of the American teenagers who drank reported getting drunk, less than a fourth of young Southern Europeans said they had been intoxicated.The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced an alleged breakthrough in research on alcohol policy. According to the DOJ, a comparison of drinking rates among American and European teenagers proved that those in Europe, with its generally more moderate alcohol attitudes and laws, lead to more alcohol problems. (A)

Yet even a quick analysis of the DOJ’s report reveals that it does not stand up to scrutiny. The report never went through peer reviews, the process in which other researchers evaluate a study’s legitimacy before it can get published. In fact, the DOJ report was never published. The Department used outdated survey numbers even though newer ones were available, and its European figures left out several important countries.

What’s more, even the numbers the Department did use don’t back up its claims. American teenagers had a higher rate of intoxication than did their counterparts in half of the European countries. When compared with teenagers in Southern Europe, which has very liberal views and practices regarding alcohol, American teenagers were more likely to have been drunk in the last 30 days (21 percent vs. 13 percent). And while more than half of the American teenagers who drank reported getting drunk, less than a fourth of young Southern Europeans said they had been intoxicated.

http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/Controversies/1098894305.html

CandW said...

Thanks for the input on the DOJ study. So good you had to post it twice ay? And other anonymous person, I don't think there will really be anyway to tell for sure, but they were here last weekend and have stated the operation continues through October, so you might as well assume they will be. Just party smart.

Anonymous said...

Everything is better when you post it twice ;)

Everything is better when you post it twice ;)

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