DENVER- False identification (fake IDs) are nothing new on college campuses. They allow underage teenagers to purchase alcohol, and in certain states, marijuana, and attend bars. Students say if you know where to go, you won’t get caught.
Certain events such as spring break and music festivals lead to mass arrests of students when police forces crack down. At Coachella music festival in California this past weekend, more than a hundred underage festival-goers were arrested, including high profile actors and actresses. Police forces at popular spring break destinations seize thousands of fake IDs during spring break.
With a robust bar and nightlife scene, DU is not immune to fake ID usage. However, the consequences of fake ID usage can result in an uptick of binge drinking by making alcohol easily accessible to underage students.
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “When traditional, robust risk factors of consumption are controlled, fake ID ownership meaningfully relates to heavy drinking in college.”
Usage of fake IDs to illegally obtain alcohol is popular across the country. Some argue that binge drinking is an integral part of college “culture”. When asked whether fake ID’s were correlated with binge drinking, first year Marcus Dockerty said that there “is no direct impact on binge drinking”.
Camryn Dreyer, a first year DU student, however, believes that fake ID ownership has a positive correlation with binge drinking. When asked if she believed if there was a relationship between the two, Dreyer said fake ID ownership “definitely increases the likelihood of binge drinking.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, “college students commonly binge drink”. DU Campus Safety reports back up this claim. From Feb. 20, 2016 to April 20, 2016, there have been 14 separate incidents of breaking Colorado liquor laws by possessing alcohol while underage. To procure alcohol, students use fake IDs at liquor stores that are lenient, or befuddled by the fake IDs. If students get caught, they are documented by Campus Safety.
Furthermore, Campus Safety has apprehended 14 students in the span of Feb. 20 to April 20, 2016 for “forgery; criminal impersonation; unlawful possession or use of license”, referring to fake ID’s. The link between the reports of underage possession and use of a fake ID is evenly matched.When asked whether or not fake ID’s pose a safety threat to DU’s campus, first year Christine Stone said that “fake ID’s cause underage drinking”. She also said that “students use fake IDs to get alcohol and weed [sic]”.
Consequences for obtaining and using a fake ID at DU are hazy. Students, when asked, said that the most common punishment for having a fake ID is “getting it taken away by a bouncer”. However, none could point out the exact punishment delivered by Campus Safety or the Denver Police Department.
Campus Safety did not respond to repeated requests for comments regarding potential consequences for students caught possessing a fake ID.
In order to decrease the ubiquity of fake IDs on campus and across the country, Campus Safety should outline their policies with regards to fake IDs.