During the early hours of Oct. 21, Henrico Police cited 35 people for unlawful purchase or possession of alcohol at an off-campus party on Center Ridge Drive, where four Richmond College students live.
According to police reports, Henrico police officers arrived at the house just before midnight on Oct. 20 and gave everyone under the age of 21 a Breathalyzer test. The officers cited 35 people for unlawful purchase or possession of alcohol, at least 29 of whom were University of Richmond students. None of those cited were under 18 years old. Junior Alison Hoffman, 20, who attended the party but was not cited, estimated that there were about 120 people present.
According to Hoffman, all of the people cited were summoned to court and have to meet with deans' offices representatives. She said the police activity was not typical of the other off-campus parties she has attended in the past.
"They usually come, tell everyone to leave, and everything works out okay," Hoffman said. "This exact thing happened at our after-prom party senior year of high school, and it was unheard of then, but 65 people got citations."
Sophomore Hilary Miller, 19, who also attended the party but was not cited, agreed that the police activity was unusual.
"I couldn't believe they took the time to breathalyze everyone," Miller said.
Andrew Werner, one of the residents of the Center Ridge Drive house, said he and his roommates never intended for the party to be so large. He said he thought that a desperate social situation on-campus forced people off-campus to their house.
"On the night of our party, there was almost nothing going on on-campus, and as a result I feel many people thought that our house was the only option," Werner said. "If the University of Richmond had a rich social life on campus, then kids would not be driven into dangerous off-campus situations."
The Center Ridge Drive house is less than one mile from the Short Pump Town Center , and the site of the News Year's Day drunk-driving accident that left a local bartender dead. On New Year's Day, Sarah Ann Haislip, 17, crashed her Jeep Cherokee into a Nissan Altima, killing the driver, 29-year-old Wesley Hunter Taylor. Haislip's blood alcohol content was almost twice the legal limit for adults. Taylor had also been drinking. Haislip was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
The recent attention brought to the consequences of underage drinking has also sparked a panhellenic response at the University of Richmond. According to Whitney Koch, a senior on the Kappa Alpha Theta executive board, executive members from each sorority met with Alison Bartel Keller, director of Greek Life, at one of the fraternity lodges to watch a video about liability and the legal consequences of underage drinking. The video hit close to home for many of them and they decided to share it with their respective chapters, Koch said.
The video was created by the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity after the tragic death of Scott S. Krueger in 1997. Krueger, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died after drinking too much at a Phi Gamma Delta fraternity event. The video was designed to educate students about responsible drinking and the liability issues that come with underage drinking.
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