DA Tom Moran clarifies goals surrounding students, alcohol

Tom Moran, district attorney of Livingston County, met with junior Nicholas Kaasik, vice president of Student Association, and The Lamron to clarify his goal of controlling unsupervised drinking in Geneseo.

Moran said that where bartenders or friends have a responsibility not to let you drink excessive amounts of alcohol, "the fraternity doesn't care … nobody's taking care of each other."

He said his No. 1 goal was to limit unsupervised drinking "so nobody else is injured or dies."

"My focus is the individual or groups who are allowing or encouraging unrestrained binge drinking," Moran added.

Police cars allegedly waiting near residences when a party is taking place are, according to Moran, "a deterrent measure from the police department." He said that he is not directly responsible for policies or actions of the village police department, but he supports their deterrents.

Moran also said he was unwilling to identify any specific criteria that might lead to the investigation of an individual or organization for violating drinking laws. "It's a matter of discretion, and the discretion is very broad," Moran said. "You won't know what will warrant the investigation."

Though he acknowledged the voiced concern that a so-called "crackdown" on parties might cause people to drink in new locations or situations, he said he believed that pressing charges against those who encourage binge drinking is the best way to attack the issue.

"My goal is eventually not to have to prosecute anybody," Moran said. "Prosecution is the last resort."

Moran said that he communicates frequently with Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio and that he will visit with representatives of Greek organizations in the future. He said he was happy that open parties have been all-but-eliminated at the college and that fraternities are taking steps to move toward a dry recruitment process.

Students expressed mixed opinions about Moran's initiatives.

"I think it's just pushing [drinking] underground ... it's not solving any problems," said junior Liana Clemente.

"It's a good thing in that [students] will be around friends" if they switch from drinking at a large party to a dorm room, said junior Ben Wunder.

"It's been a long time coming," said sophomore Liz Cariseo, who added that the "crackdown" efforts amount more to creating a good image for the public than actually solving any problem. "I don't think it's as effective as they want it to be."

"I think it's a ploy to make money [for the town]," said senior Zack Lloyd, who recently received a ticket for a drinking law violation.

Sophomore Elizabeth Shenn said the heightened enforcement "makes [alcohol] seem like more of a forbidden fruit than it already is." She said that people might be more likely to drink hard liquor if they can't get beer at parties.

Moran did not explicitly advocate a medical amnesty program, despite recent talks of such a plan. "I would hope and pray that the students on this campus are kind, caring, decent people," he said. "I think the vast majority of students on this campus will make that phone call [regardless of potential consequences]."

Kaasik said he is hoping to organize a program at the college where students will be able to ask a panel of police officers, lawyers and the district attorney about legal issues pertinent to the college community. Moran said he would be happy to participate in such a panel.