USCA officials, students finding solutions to age-old problem

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, March 26, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Ashley, Jasmear and Keandra are college students.

Some of their biggest worries include being on time for class and passing a test, but what they see as 20-year-olds also worries them.

"We have a lot of underage students that feel like it's their duty to drink," said 20-year-old college student Jasmear Griffin. "I wouldn't say to feel cool but just because everyone does it."

Everyone does it, they say, because everyone can get it.

Ashley Dixon, 20, said it's "easy" to get alcohol.

Keandra Brown agreed.

"It's real easy like if she was 21, she was my roommate, well, 'Hey Ashley, can I have some alcohol?' and she'll say, 'Sure,' you know?" the 20-year-old said.

"Across the board, when you talk about this age group, in general, the biggest problem you are going to see is alcohol consumption," said USCA Police Chief Kevin Liles.

Tyler Hyman is a 20-year-old college student, he said, "We don't come to college to drink and get wasted or anything, we come to college to get a degree and get a job."

However, this isn't just among college campuses, take for instance this weekend's Steeplechase.

"Basically they described it as a huge outdoor party," Hyman said.

That party was cut short for more than a dozen who were ticketed for drinking booze under 21.

A meeting held Monday night was an effort to fight it with the help from law enforcement, counselors and underage kids.

"When people get alcohol in their system, they act up, they do things that they normally don't do when they are sober," Brown said.

Chief Liles said, "Statistics are already there that this age group of young adults have a tendency towards alcohol consumption."

As for the solution, it's as blurry as the line so many kids cross.

Again, this is not something that happens just on this campus; officials on both sides of the river are gearing up to deal with it all as prom, graduations and the Masters get closer.

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