As the country’s college students have been involving themselves in an outbreak of a new drinking culture, studies have shown an increase in the amount of underage drinking on college campuses. Keene State College has taken precaution of this drinking epidemic by working with the Keene Police Department to help keep students safe.
Officer Kyle Macie is the current College Liaison Officer (CLO) for the KPD. The CLO, “takes reports of crimes and investigates accordingly and spends much time in the field on foot, bicycle or motor patrol and networking with various groups and individuals,” according to KPD website.
Macie works with KSC to protect students and their property. Any calls related to the college are forwarded to Macie who then responds accordingly.
“Just about every call [KPD] handles has something to do with alcohol,” Macie said. He said most calls regarding KSC were out of control off-campus parties or from a dorm with suspected underage alcohol consumption.
Depending on the situation, Macie and other officers will take disciplinary action toward students involved with alcohol.
“In this generation,” Macie said, “students believe there are no consequences for them.” He said he thinks that the “riot mentality” this country has been seeing has encouraged students to consume alcohol.
“There are some college students who think ‘We can do whatever we want because we’re in college,’ and that is not the mindset to have,” Macie said.
As for students who believe “there’s nothing else to do” on college campuses besides drink alcohol, Macie said “that’s nonsense.”
“There are so many activities on campus for students to participate in,” KSC student Amber Huot [no relation to President Huot] said. Huot involves herself in Zumba classes and enjoys going to the gym.
“Weekend nights are the perfect gym time because everyone is out partying,” Huot said. She said she enjoys working off calories during the weekend instead of consuming more by drinking alcohol.
“Often times we see highly intoxicated students being carried out of a party and those are the types of situations we’re going to take action on,” he said. Macie said another common interaction with students revolves around them carrying open containers on the streets.
“If we can articulate that you are intoxicated because of the consumption of alcohol . . . You can be charged for that,” Macie said.
Macie, or any officer, has the right to arrest any student under the age of 21 with actual constructive possession of alcohol, internal or external, due to the New Hampshire statute of Unlawful Possession and Intoxication. Students found guilty of this violation will be charged a minimum of 300 dollars and will face a subsequent charge from KSC itself.
That doesn’t mean students over the age of 21 are in the clear just yet. Walking the streets with an open alcoholic beverage, including those of legal drinking age, is still illegal.
Students found guilty of this violation will be charged by KPD and KSC. Macie said his typical Friday night shift begins at 7 p.m. He patrols the area surrounding campus and responds to calls as needed.
He said the most popular streets he patrols include Blake, Wilson, Davis and Elliot.
“Most of the parties I hear about are on Blake Street,” Carli Cioppa, a student at KSC, said. Cioppa said she notices Campus Safety and KPD patrolling the street regularly during weekend nights. “I feel safer with the police around,” Cioppa said, “But I don’t know of any student that wouldn’t be upset if they got caught with alcohol.”
As for the day with the most police action on campus, “Fridays and Saturdays are usually our busiest nights,” Macie said. He said Thursdays are not as bad as they used to be, despite the term “Thirsty Thursdays” being so popular. As the college drinking culture around the country has evolved, Macie said he “wants to stop scraping kids off the ground.”
Macie said he would give lectures to students on alcohol consumption but would end up visiting those same students in the emergency room after they had been checked-in for alcohol related incidents.
In regards to decreasing the amount of college students getting involved with alcohol, Macie believes more education and harsher punishments are the way to go.
“You really have to set the punishment bar so high,” he said. Macie said he believes if the punishments were more severe, students will be less likely to get involved with alcohol. By drinking alcohol illegally, Macie said students are “rolling the dice with their future.”
If students do choose to consume alcohol or party, Macie encourages them to “never take a drink from a stranger” and “stay away from house-hopping.”
He said students get into a lot of trouble by jumping from house to house. Other advice Macie offered to KSC students included knowing their limit, knowing who they’re going to the party with and knowing not to go to unfamiliar areas.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com