September 20, 2011

Dozens of Colby College partiers face alcohol charges

Underage students caught at the off-campus party also will be 'subject to discipline on campus.'

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE - Police issued summonses to more than four dozen Colby College students at an off-campus party late Saturday, charging them with illegal possession of alcohol.

click image to enlarge

From left to right: Taggert Martin, Mads Ydemark, Christopher Boghossian

Police Chief Joseph Massey also said three students who rent the apartment at 16 Winter St., where the party was held, were arrested and charged with providing a place for minors to consume.

They are Christopher Boghossian, 21; Taggert Martin, 20; and Mads Ydemark, 22.

All the students are scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court at 1 p.m. Dec. 6, according to Massey.

Colby Vice President Sally Baker said Monday that college officials will gather names of all the students charged and follow up with each one individually.

"All will be subject to discipline on campus," she said.

The summonses were issued after an officer stopped a car on Gilman Street around 8 p.m. Saturday and the driver identified herself as a Colby student, according to Massey. The officer smelled alcohol on her and asked where she got it; she said she had been at the Winter Street party, Massey said. She was issued a summons for illegal possession of alcohol by a minor, he said.

The officer contacted the Northern Kennebec Underage Drinking Task Force to report a possible underage drinking party, Massey said. The task force is a group of area law enforcement officials, health groups and youth advocates working to prevent underage drinking and educate people about its dangers.

The task force happened to be doing compliance checks at businesses Saturday night, so members including Waterville, Fairfield and Winslow officers headed to the apartment, according to Massey.

Earlier, task force members at Elm Plaza had issued summonses to two Colby students. A male student was charged with providing alcohol to a minor because he allegedly bought alcohol at a store for a female companion who was underage, according to Massey. He said neither had been to the Winter Street party.

Later Saturday, around midnight, police went to the Colby campus for a 17-year-old who needed to be taken to the hospital because of drinking, Massey said. "He was not a Colby student. He was visiting someone on campus and his parents were contacted. A short time later, we got a second call on campus for an 18-year-old who had to be taken to the hospital. They were both summoned for illegal consumption."

He said neither had been to the Winter Street party.

Last year, Colby implemented new rules governing alcohol on campus after a group of college officials and police worked together on the issue, Massey said.

"I think the college administration... has worked hard to try to reduce underage and binge drinking on campus and they certainly have been doing that with our help and open communication between police and the administration," Massey said.

He said students have to help continue the work: "For us to ever really stop it, it is going to have to be a change in culture from the students."

"I'm concerned," he said. "I hope that this is not an indication of how the school year is going to go, but students need to know they're going to be held accountable, and if they hold these large parties off campus and we become aware of it, we're going to take action. . . .

"They might think it's a rite of passage and part of their college experience and the police should view it the same, but we don't because, number one, it's against the law and number two, we often see the consequences of underage and binge drinking that leads to serious injury and sometimes death."

College rules allow students who are of age to consume alcohol in the campus pub and at catered parties. They may not consume or keep it elsewhere on campus.

"Underage students aren't allowed to consume at all on campus," Baker said. "We're subject to Maine law as well."

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:
acalder@centralmaine.com

 

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