Having been an underage drinker at one point in my life, I can
understand the growing worry and frustration of all college
students not yet fortunate enough to be 21. The recent crackdowns
in Ann Arbor have put a serious damper on the social lives of many
and have forced students across campus to find alternate (sober)
fun … or better IDs. It is true, and we all know it, that
drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. It is also true, however,
that the current system in place to stop this problem is only
making it worse. Cracking down on fake IDs is not going to stop
people from using them. Neither is busting fraternity parties, nor
making the minor in possession law more serious.
Instead of trying to make it stop, we should all realize that
underage drinking is going to continue on this campus, regardless
of what anyone says or does. That said, instead of focusing their
attention on “getting” underage drinkers, local
authorities should spend their time ensuring the safety of
Case in point: fraternity parties.
I know that fraternity parties get a bad reputation among both
University and Ann Arbor officials, but they are some of the safest
parties on campus. The Greek community on campus has an elected
committee of students whose sole responsibility is ensuring safety
at Greek events. Members of this committee dedicate their weekends
to going to fraternity parties and checking to make sure they
follow all the rules set forth in our comprehensive social policy.
I checked some of those parties myself during Welcome Week and have
never seen parties so clean in all my years at this University.
Fraternity men were at the door checking MCards against a guest
list, all alcohol was being monitored and the size of the crowd
inside was kept at a safe size.
One of these parties, however, was shut down by the Ann Arbor
When I was informed of this situation I was angry, but even
more, I was worried. Now all the students who had been enjoying a
safe and clean party were forced out into the streets of Ann Arbor
in search of a new destination. Now these students would be heading
to house parties, which are not monitored, or bars, where they
would be using their new and improved fake IDs. Closing down this
fraternity party did not fix anything. Rather, it made the problem
I have been at this university for three years. In that time, I
have seen the way the laws have changed. In that time, I have seen
the crackdowns at the beginning of each new year. In that time, I
have witnessed numerous friends getting MIPs. What I have not seen,
however, is an end to underage drinking. While I know there is a
problem on this campus with irresponsible drinking habits, I do not
think issuing tickets will fix this; in fact, I think it will only
make people more responsible about keeping their drinking hidden.
Expecting a small fine and some community service to teach some
18-year old a lesson is ridiculous; he or she will pay the fine,
help the community and celebrate his or her completion with a drink
at the bar. The AAPD must find a new way to tackle this problem. I
propose a system that involves understanding the way we students
think and feel, as well as working to protect (rather than
Herskovic is the spokeswoman for the Panhellenic Association
and a School of Education senior.
View this feature as it appears in print:
30: Getting Along With The Law