Consequences of underage drinking should be considered

The majority of college students partake in underage drinking at least once, and those of age are sometimes found guilty of providing alcohol to minors.

Under Geneseo's Student Code of Conduct, the possession, consumption and distribution of alcohol are all prohibited for students under the age of 21.

We all know that. If caught violating these rules, disciplinary action will be taken after discussing the case in a meeting between the student in question and the Office of Judicial Affairs. Punishment can include conduct probation, deferred suspension and, in more serious matters, temporary or permanent suspension from the college.

At Geneseo, most social gatherings involving alcohol do not take place on campus. Students venture into the village where homeowners or renters host festivities accompanied by kegs, handles and red cups.

The village is a place where students can easily forget that they are off campus, and they sometimes also forget that state and local laws are applicable. Resident assistants won't come knocking, but police officers have the power to arrest and ticket any student who has potentially violated any of the village rules.

Both the laws of the village of Geneseo and New York State have guidelines pertaining to the consumption of alcohol; if they are broken, the consequences can be much more severe than those imposed when a student drinks in a dorm room.

The carrying of open containers of alcohol is prohibited in the village, and so is the deposition of these containers in places other than receptacles like garbage cans or recycling bins. That being said, if a student is caught carrying an open can of beer, a water bottle of vodka or anything of that type, he can be found guilty of an offense under both local and state laws – such violations are in and of themselves a breach of Geneseo's student code of conduct.

If students violate policies while under the age of 21, the case becomes even more serious and can lead to further charges and disciplinary action from the college, village and state. Charges can include fines of up to $250 and/or imprisonment for up to 15 days, and punishment can include a semester of conduct probation or deferred suspension.

These are things that many don't realize when going out for a night on the town. Students are off campus, which is quite liberating, but with great freedom comes great responsibility.

With that in mind, students must be responsible enough to follow the rules of the community and to realize when they are entering a situation that is in violation of alcohol laws. A fun night could turn sour with just one small violation, and that's something that everyone should try to avoid at all costs.