Q: What does campus nightlife have to offer?

On a campus full on bars, Greek life and an active night scene, students may feel pressure or want to join in drinking activities with friends before turning 21, however there are few things they should know.

Although the bar age in Champaign is 19 (18 in Urbana) police often frequent bars doing checks for underage drinkers and other violators

Boris Sadkhin, sophomore in LAS, said he watched a friend get a drinking ticket for just watching a drink that was not even his.

Minutes later the Champaign police issued him a $350 drinking ticket for being within six feet of an alcoholic beverage.

Lt. Skip Frost, patrol division commander for the University of Illinois police department said he is paid to keep people safe, not give drinking tickets.

“Police get a bad rep that we’re only interested in writing underage drinking tickets but that’s not true,” Frost said.

“We do not see revenue from tickets they write, it goes to the city of Champaign. There is no economic reason, we write them to change the behavior.”

Frost said, on average he issues 50-75 drinking tickets a semester which typically cost around $300.

Andy Hewkin, police officer for the city of Urbana said its ordinances are separate from Champaign’s and cost about $135.

“Bar checks in Urbana are made once a month,” Hewkin said.

“If a person is issued a certain amount of citations they might have to go to court, or even to jail.”

Some students are required to take special alcohol prevention classes in addition to paying the fine rather than going to court.

Frost said if a student is issued a certain number of citations, it goes on their personal record and further decisions are then made by the dean of students.

While the Champaign police cover Champaign and the Urbana police cover Urbana, the University police department can issue underage drinking tickets anywhere on campus.

All three police forces have the same basic law for underage drinking; don’t ingest alcohol under the age of 21.

“I think it’s the law for a reason, whether you disagree with it or not we enforce the laws as it is in the books,” Frost said. “The University’s main focus is to be a famous institution and if it doesn’t affect your social or academic performance that’s great, but if you are caught doing underage drinking you could be issued a citation.”