It’s no secret that college means freedom for many students, and partying has a long-standing connection to college and university life. But St. Paul’s implementation of the social host ordinance last year has affected St. Thomas’ party scene.
The St. Paul Police Department has handed out 11 social host ordinance violations already this fall in hopes to lower community disturbances caused by underage drinking, according to the Star Tribune. Since the ordinance was enacted in 2009, hosts of events where underage drinking takes place are held legally responsible and must pay a hefty fine.
Many students around the St. Paul area say they have been more careful about where they go, whom they have over, and what they do during their weekend extravaganzas since the social host ordinance was passed.
“Students in the area are more cautious about having big parties due to the ordinance,” sophomore Erin Antrim said. “Most of my friends and I don’t drink when we go to big parties because we know how likely the cops are going to show up.”
Though the ordinance may be decreasing the number of large parties, underage students are still testing their ability to let the good times roll with the classic fake I.D.
“It’s easier to go out and try to drink at bars with fakes than it is to go out to a party, get busted by the cops, and have to pay for a minor,” Antrim said. “I don’t think the ordinance is beneficial to the community, because it’s not going to stop 18 to 20-year-olds from drinking, if that is what officials are trying to do.”
How the ordinance is affecting local businesses
If the ordinance has led to fewer large house parties and more fake I.D.s as students claim, then the ordinance could be pushing more party-goers into bars. But Groveland Tap’s manager, Craig Hassell, said he believes the ordinance is too new to really see an increase in the use of fake I.D.s.
“I haven’t seen any increase in fakes, but I have seen an increase in late-night business around happy hour,” Hassell said.
Hassell said that even though the ordinance may be controlling parties in the immediate campus area, it is sending the activity out into the neighborhoods.
“I know a few people that own property around the area and rent it to students. They have their lease basically stating if you have a party, you’re evicted,” Hassell said. “The problem is getting scattered deeper into the area…and that’s not good.”
Tommy Ellis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.