PLATTSBURGH — A sting on Feb. 21 saw six arrested for trying to buy alcohol with false identification and two others charged with possession of alcohol by a person under 21.
Plattsburgh City Police and SUNY Plattsburgh University Police officers worked together, with some standing with bouncers at Plattsburgh bars to check IDs, said Sgt. Frank Mercier of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, coordinator of the Clinton County STOP-DWI program.
Steve Carpenter, who owns Liquor and Wine Warehouse in Plattsburgh, said the majority of fake IDs he sees in his store come from college students.
And for them, what happens after the alcohol is purchased and consumed is sometimes the most concerning.
Thirty-six times in 2013, SUNY Plattsburgh students had to be taken to a hospital for treatment resulting from alcohol intoxication, University Police Assistant Chief Jerry Lottie said.
The year before, there were 45 “alcohol transports,” as the college calls them, and 36 in 2011.
Students who are caught drinking face college or criminal charges or both.
“It’s a constant problem on college campuses nationwide, and our campus is no exception,” said SUNY Plattsburgh University Police Chief Arlene Sabo. “We’ll never stomp out the problem completely.”
Students can plead “responsible” or “not responsible” to the college charges and, depending on the plea, their fate will be decided by a board or the Dean of Student’s Office.
The consequences range from a mandatory computer educational module to suspension.
And the student will be referred to an addiction counselor, SUNY Plattsburgh Assistant Dean of Students Larry Allen said.
The college takes an educational approach to alcohol, Allen said.
Consequences for breaking the law aren’t discussed often, he said.
“I don’t think they’re ready or in the mindset of that, at least in our approach.”
While the school is required by law to cover sex-assault laws with students, that isn’t the case with alcohol or drugs.
Many resident assistants will hold mandatory meetings or perform skits so students new to the college environment will have the information they need to make safe decisions, Allen said.
These efforts will reach the 90 percent of freshmen who live in the residence halls.
“They’re trying to pitch it in a way that’s fun and exciting and will help students get involved.”