2010 to record increase in MIPs

Kelsey Petersen

Since 2007, the number of citations issued to minors in possession (MIPs) of alcohol at NMU has tripled and officials predict that the 2010 school year will produce the highest numbers yet.

According to Public Safety, in 2007 only 38 students were given MIPs on campus. In 2008, the number increased to 90, and in 2009, the most recent year with available statistics, the number jumped to 128.

“We’re really high up not only in alcohol, but marijuana too,” said Public Safety Capt. Jeffrey Mincheff.

NMU follows laws that prohibit students under the age of 21 to use, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages as stated in the student handbook.

“Many students don’t receive tickets,” Mincheff said. “Most of the time, if they lie and have an attitude or disposition that is sarcastic, then we write them a ticket.”

Parking lot guards responsible for seeing students safely from the lots to their dorms issue many of the MIPs.

“We are not lurking in the shadows,” Mincheff said. “We have lot guards out to provide a safe campus and safety for the students.”

In the process the guards are faced with students attempting to sneak alcohol on campus.

“Whether they get a ticket or not, we make them dump it,” Mincheff said.

“It usually hurts them more than the ticket and fine because it’s like liquid gold going down the drain because it’s like liquid gold going down the drain.”

Along with the fines of an MIP, students are required to meet with Chris Greer, dean of students, to discuss the situation and be placed on probation. The citation goes on the student’s record for seven years or until the student graduates. If a student receives more than one MIP, the fines increase substantially and parents are notified with the second offense.

Students who receive an MIP are required to attend a court hearing, Mincheff said. If the student fails to appear before the court, an arrest warrant is sent out and he or she is placed on probation.

Students must take alcohol education courses through the Health Promotions Office.

“We have noticed a steady increase of the students admitted to the alcohol education courses,” said Will Getts, a student assistant at the health promotions office.

Northern is not the only university facing an increase in alcohol violations. While campus liquor violations are decreasing nationwide, Michigan is among the handful of states that are experiencing an increase, according to the Department of Education.

“Institutions often see trends in crime and they start enforcing the rules that will lead to an increase,” said David Bergeron, policy and budget development director at the Department of Education.

The states, including Michigan, that are experiencing the increase are those with schools battling illegal activity on campus while many others are simply letting the crime continue.

“All too often, institutions look the other way when there are liquor violations,” Bergeron said. “Generally what you see when that happens is more crimes occurring that are associated with alcohol.”

“The rise at Northern Michigan University is a good thing,” Bergeron said. “It shows how the institution is enforcing the law.”