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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Liquor easily accessible to minors around campus

    The success rate is rather low here near campus for fake IDs and Wildcat Liquor on 6th and Campbell is no exception - confiscated IDs addorn the walls and countertops of this claustrophobically packed humble liqor store.
    The success rate is rather low here near campus for fake ID’s and Wildcat Liquor on 6th and Campbell is no exception – confiscated ID’s addorn the walls and countertops of this claustrophobically packed humble liqor store.

    The drinking laws have been a hot-button issue since the minimum drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 with the enactment of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. Actually executing the law, however, is different than debating it, and is something that the UA campus addresses each day.

    Over 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 are killed every year due to alcohol-related incidents, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

    Near campus, alcohol can be purchased at many venues. However, drive-through liquor stores may provide underage drinkers with an easier means of buying alcohol. As a rule, Arizona Law 4-241 states that it is up to the discretion of the vendor to check identification, meaning passengers in a car may not be required to produce a driver’s license in order to purchase alcohol.

    “”The law doesn’t say they have to ask for identification of anybody. It’s up to the discretion of the employee,”” said Wes Kuhl of the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control. “”If two kids are in line at a grocery store, one looks of age and one looks under age, it would be in the employee’s best interest to check both identifications. But that has to be the store’s policy.””

    “”Eighty percent of our business is at the window, and you can usually tell when you have someone who’s of age and he’s got minors in the car,”” said Dan L. Rodarte, a clerk at Lee’s Liquors located at 1202 N. Stone Ave.

    “”The policy for our store is if it looks like that is the situation, then we ask for identification from everyone in the car. If they don’t have one, then they don’t get served,”” Rodarte said. “”Arizona law (says) anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 is carded and needs to provide appropriate identification.””

    University of Arizona Liquors, also a drive-through vendor, is another location for students to purchase liquor near campus. Drive-through liquor stores are no different than any other store when asking for identification, said Gale Tucker, manager of the store.

    “”If they are talking and discussing it or if they give the driver money, then we have to card everyone in the car, or at least the people who are talking about it or putting money in,”” Tucker said. “”Unless we hear them talking about it and see them putting money in, then generally we just card

    the driver.””

    Rodarte, though, said his location went above and beyond what other vendors do.

    “”We have a black light system that checks for the hologram in identification, and we have a swiping system that shows their age if the identification expired,”” he said. “”We really do our part.””

    Yet a recent survey conducted by the Arizona Underage Drinking Prevention Committee concluded that 77 percent of all youth surveyed said they got alcohol from friends who are of the legal drinking age.

    After all the verifications of ages and checking of licenses, how difficult is it for a minor to get alcohol through one of these locations via a 21-year-old?

    On Sunday, an Arizona Daily Wildcat reporter took a student, who is 20, and attempted to buy alcohol at University of Arizona Liquors and Lee’s Liquor. The reporter, who is above the legal drinking age, was driving and both windows were rolled fully down to expose the passenger.

    The clerk at University of Arizona Liquors asked for only the driver’s identification even though he appeared to look questioningly at the passenger.

    The clerk at Lee’s Liquor also saw the passenger, but only asked for the driver’s identification.

    Both times, alcohol was purchased without the clerk asking for identification from the passenger.

    So what is the University of Arizona Police Department doing to monitor underage drinking on campus?

    “”Number one, there’s really no monitoring per se … What we do is anytime when we’re out there patrolling, either responding to calls or proactively, if we see someone who exhibits signs and symptoms of drinking and they are under 21, there are a couple of ways of dealing with that situation,”” said Sergeant Juan Alvarez, UAPD public information officer. “”Obviously, we can make an arrest, issue them a citation or (direct) them to the Dean of Students Diversion Program.””

    The Dean of Students Diversion Program is set in place to interrupt the criminal prosecution process, and allows a UA student to have a first-time misdemeanor charge dismissed upon completion of the program.

    “”Once they complete the program, the criminal charges are dismissed,”” Alvarez said.

    The officer has discretion over the situation and can still issue a citation as opposed to an offer to the diversion program, Alvarez said.

    “”But there is no program we do to specifically monitor the drinking,”” he said.

    As far as the drive-through liquor stores are concerned, Alvarez said UAPD is not worried about it.

    “”(The situation has) been there for a long time, and we really don’t see an issue with that,”” he said. “”Generally, when we see people obtain alcohol who are underage, they get it from friends at a house or a fraternity or something like that.””

    Jim Van Arsdel, director of Resident Life, alluded to the fact that students are going to get alcohol, one way or another.

    “”I firmly believe if that store didn’t exist, they would find other ways,”” he said.

    “”I think … if you’re an adult and can go to war, then I think you’re old enough to make a decision whether or not you should be drinking or how much to drink,”” said Rikki Mitchell, a pre-journalism freshman. “”I think adults make too big of an issue about teenagers or college students drinking … I think that (college students are) old enough to figure out what is right and how much they should be drinking.””

    Jennifer Pemberton, a pre-business freshman, agreed.

    “”I think that older adults see teenagers drinking, and it is so bad. But we’re sitting here trying to get a career and starting a big phase of our life and making all of these decisions – I don’t see why they think we’ll take it so out of control,”” Pemberton said. “”Who’s to say we will take it more out of control than, say, a 30 year old? … I don’t think we’re as dumb as we get made out to be.””

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