WATERVILLE – Eighty-one Colby College students were among 90 people summonsed late Saturday and early Sunday at a party near the campus and charged with possession of alcohol by a minor.
Oliver Brown, 20, and James Axelrod, 21, the students who rent the house where the party was held, were arrested and charged with furnishing a place for minors to consume, according to Chief Joseph Massey, of the Waterville police.
A dozen police officers from Waterville, Winslow and Oakland converged on 39 Washington St. around 11:45 p.m. after an officer went there around 11 p.m. in response to a report about a large party, Massey said. That officer told a sergeant that about 100 people were at the party, and that’s when the sergeant called for backup.
“When they confronted Brown, he took off running; and they ended up pursuing him on foot and actually ended up catching him not too far from the house,” Massey said.
Brown was arrested and charged with refusing to submit to arrest or detention, as well as violation of condition of release, because he was free on bail in connection with a driving charge, Massey said. He was summoned for possession of alcohol by a minor.
Police used a search warrant signed by a judge to enter the home. They asked the young adults to leave one at a time and checked their IDs, Massey said. If they were underage and drinking, they were summoned and allowed to go, he said.
He said most were cooperative, but five covered themselves with insulation in the attic in an attempt to hide.
“They were, obviously, made to come down,” he said.
Massey said a Colby official told him that of the 90 people summoned for possession of alcohol by a minor, nine were not Colby students.
Possession of alcohol by a minor is a civil infraction punishable by a fine — generally $200 for a first offense, according to Massey. A second offense could carry a fine of up to $350, he said.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a class D crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, he said.
Axelrod and Brown were each released on $500 unsecured cash, according to Massey.
All those charged are scheduled to appear May 7 in Waterville District Court, he said.
The gray house where the party was held is at the corner of Washington Street and Cleveland Place.
A man who answered the door at the house Monday morning declined to comment. Two vehicles were parked in a driveway off Washington Street; several other vehicles were parked in a driveway off Cleveland, at the back of the house.
A next-door neighbor, Kimberly Morin Brunelle, 56, said she did not call police Saturday night about the party at 39 Washington, but she often heard a lot of noise coming from the house.
“To be honest with you, one night I almost called police because it was so loud it was rumbling the house,” she said.
Jim Terhune, Colby’s dean of students and vice president of student affairs, said he could not talk about the specific incident, but he could discuss in general terms how the college handles such matters.
Colby’s handbook is clear about behavior that is at odds with policies and procedures, and underage possession of alcohol is a violation of policy, he said.
Students who violate the policy are subject to campus discipline, he said.
At orientation, students are advised to read and familiarize themselves with the handbook; the college also does educational programs with students and points out parts of the handbook that are important.
“We certainly go out of our way to educate students about the alcohol policy,” he said. “There’s really no way to enforce it.”
Disciplinary measures for policy violations vary according to the level of the offense and whether it is repeated, according to Terhune.
Low-level offenses typically start with a warning and a note in a student’s file; probation might be a next step, if an offense is repeated.
More serious offenses could result in suspension for a semester or more. Expulsion, or permanent removal from the college, is for the most serious offenses.
Massey said some angry parents were calling police to complain that police were picking on or targeting Colby students.
“It’s a ridiculous accusation,” he said.
The percentage of Colby students summoned or arrested in a year is small compared to the overall number of summonses issued and arrests made in the city, he said.
The Washington Street house is less than a mile from the Colby campus. Washington Street connects Campus Drive, on the campus, and Kennedy Memorial Drive.
“One parent suggested we endangered his son’s life because he missed a ride to Colby (from the party) and could have frozen to death,” he said.
He said students got rides back to campus via the Colby Jitney, a van that transports students, as well as by Colby Security. Some students also took taxis, he said.
Amy Calder – 861-9247