The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

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Fake IDs on campus causing real problems for its holders


Your older brother’s newly-expired license. Your learner’s permit from high school with some neat red coloring pencil over the birth date. A personalized card with your name and smile across it made overseas and shipped secretly to you and your suitemates.

Coming to college and having to sometimes stay behind while  the 21 and over crowd heads to the bars puts many college students in a predicament, and many of them turn to obtaining a fake ID – in any way, shape or form that they can. And Le Moyne students are no exception.

Last February, Le Moyne joined a select number of other colleges in the country to have an on-campus pub.  While the newest campus addition was exciting for the upperclassmen at the time, administrators, parents and donors grew concerned that the Pub’s proximity to students would encourage underage drinking and the use of fake identification.

A year and a half later, these fears of fake IDs being used on campus have been assuaged. Even with the inclusion of 18+ event nights for the younger crowd to join in the fun without the alcohol, Mark Petterelli, associate director of security, says there have only been “a handful at most” of incidents involving fake IDs at the Pub, and none so far this year. Scott Popp, the dining hall supervisor, said last year included “only around five” incidents.

Popp went on to explain that if a student attempts to use a fake ID, the law dictates that the Pub must not withhold the ID. But Popp said when students fail in using fake IDs, they are usually “halfway out the door by the time the bartender turns around.”

The main reason for the lack of fake IDs appearing at the Pub is likely that the bartenders there ask for two forms of ID – a photo ID [such as a driver’s license or passport], and the Le Moyne student ID card. The bartenders scan the Le Moyne ID on the cash register, which is connected to the student life database. The register then displays the student’s birthdate and age for the bartender to confirm with the photo ID.

This method has helped LMC prevent any fake IDs from getting by since the database is impossible to fake without hacking. Additionally, the Pub has a copy of the 2012 I.D. Checking Guide to compare with any military or United States photo ID they need to question.

Now, 19 months since the ribbon was cut, Pub bartender, Tiffany Mott [‘13], says students have the system down pat, and come ready to follow the rules.

“People are really good about it,” she said. “Students know now and have the IDs ready.”

However, bartenders across the Syracuse area, namely Clinton Square, can’t always say the same for Le Moyne students when it comes to IDs and underage drinking.

According to Le Moyne senior, Yaro Nieves, who is also a bouncer at a bar popular with Le Moyne students, Mulrooney’s [Mully’s], underage Le Moyne students seem to be getting their hands on fake IDs now more than ever.

“It’s an ongoing problem, but it’s worse now because of the resources they [students] have that they didn’t years ago,” Nieves said. “There are a lot more ways to get it [a fake ID]. Before, you had to ask someone who was older to give you theirs or order another through the DMV, and it might not really look like you, so it wouldn’t always pass by a bouncer. Now you can just go online and pay someone a hundred bucks to put your face on an ID.”

Carli Wittkowski, a former bartender at Clinton Street Pub – another dolphin favorite – ended up quitting her job because she became fed up with the underage crowd each weekend.

“I left because it wasn’t good money and too much of a younger crowd,” Wittkowski said. “I see students there that are 17 and 18.”

Wittkowski says the young crowd made her uncomfortable, but it also ended up costing her through her paycheck each week.

“I feel as though they [the younger bar-goers] didn’t tip well because they were either broke from loans or still too young-minded.”

Despite the young crowd, Wittkowski said these underage students had to get through very tough security measures to make it through the doors. Clinton Street Pub uses an ID scanner, asks the ID-holder questions about themselves to see if it matches up with the ID’s information, and uses a black light to check for the hologram.

Still, fake ID services are advancing to keep up with the demands, and hand-me-down IDs will usually check out, pending the holder looks like the previous owner.

And Nieves says even those without fake IDs will pull out all the stops to get in to party with their older friends and classmates.

“I get 10, 20, sometimes 30 texts in between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday nights asking if I can let them in without ID,” he said. “Most of the time they’re from people I don’t even know, or people I spoke to maybe once who now claim we’re best friends.”

Nieves says to those he knows, he’ll send them a quick “Sorry man. Can’t help you,” text back. But for most, he rarely even responds.

Yet, simply ignoring the requests seldom stops people from trying, he added.

“I’ve had people walk in and hand me Subway cards or an insurance card because they think it’s no big deal and it’s all for show,” he said. “It’s not. It’s not okay.”

For those students with ID, Nieves and the other bouncers on duty follow a strict protocol to ensure the ID is legit. These tests include swiping a finger across the front to feel if there’s a plastic covering, bending the ID back to see if it bends a certain way, asking for a second form of identification and finally, “grilling them with questions,” such as their name, address and even some curveballs, like their zodiac sign.

Like most of its neighboring bars, Mully’s policy for catching a fake ID is confiscating it and kicking the holder out. The ID will then be cut up or turned in to the police. In New York state, possession of a fake ID could result in anywhere from a $500 fine to seven years behind bars.

Petterelli also added that a student found guilty of using a fake ID wouldn’t just be punished by the police department either.

“If someone were arrested, it would get back here as a community standards violation,” he said. In other words, not only would the student have to reconcile with the police department on criminal charges, but there would also be disciplinary actions on campus as well.

“A lot of people at Le Moyne just don’t realize what they’re getting into [when they use a fake ID],” Nieves added. “They take it for granted so much. They think it’s no big deal and it’s all just a joke. Realize that you’re breaking the law. There can be serious repercussions for that. And there probably will be.”

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