Laws prohibiting underage drinking apply in residence halls, across campus

New students under the age of 21 and who are living residence halls should not expect to be able to drink freely in their newly assigned living area or anywhere else on campus.

“If you are under 21, alcohol is a prohibited possession within the residence halls,” said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing. “The one thing I can tell new residents is, ‘Don’t do it.”

University residence hall’s policies and procedures, located on their Web site, specifically states what items are deemed as “prohibited possessions” within the residence hall community.

Drugs and other related substances, such as alcohol, fall into this category.

The punishment for possession of any of these items depends on the severity of the violation.

“When dealing with cases of people being found using drugs or alcohol, the disciplinary action is not always so cut-and-dry,” Ruby said.

“We work very closely with the University, Champaign, and Urbana police, as well as the Dean of Students and other staff, when this type of incident occurs.”

The University, Champaign and Urbana police departments also play a part in monitoring underage drinking outside of the residence halls.

Campustown offers bars where drinking is permitted, but only if identification shows that the patron is over the age of 21.

In the Champaign section of Campustown, the entry-age for bars is 19 years old. Beginning this semester, C.O. Daniels, 608 E Daniel St, will only allow people over the age of 21 to enter. In Urbana, the entry age to a bar is 18 years old.

Once inside the bar, people under the age of 21 are still expected not to buy or drink any alcohol.

If someone is caught by the police departments using fake identification which has a false age on it, the consequences are severe.

“Underage students who use fake driver’s licenses or state identification cards set themselves up for severe punishment,” said

University police Lt. Roy Acree. “If someone is caught using a fake ID to gain entry to a bar, they are automatically fined $310.”

Along with the fine, an offender is required to go to court to receive further disciplinary action. A first offense, according to Acree, could result in a Class 4 felony, meaning a sentencing of 1-3 years in prison with a possibility of probation. A second offense ups the sentencing to 2-5 years.

When someone is found using an ID that is not their own, but is a registered ID for another person, the person will also be charged with possessing a stolen item, said Urbana Police officer Amber Carpenter.

The case will then be sent to the state’s attorney to decide further penalties.