Can You Have a Social Life at FCLC Without a Fake ID?

Impending Legislation Imposes Stricter Fake ID Laws


Published: April 3, 2008

Underage college students with fake IDs drink five to six times more than those without fake IDs, according to research recently cited on The New York Times blog. The researchers stated that, as a result of their findings, fake IDs “thus present a significant public health problem.”

Forty-five percent of FCLC students said they have or have had a fake ID. A propsal to impose stricter laws on fake IDs would increase penalties for underage individuals that get caught. (Craig Calefate Photo Illustration/The Observer

Many Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students disagree and feel that a fake ID, while illegal, is necessary in order to maintain a flourishing social life at a “bar school” like FCLC, where most of the partying takes place off-campus. Students agreed that the only difference between those with IDs and those without is the venue in which their drinking takes place.

“If I wanted to just drink in my room, I wouldn’t need a fake ID to do it,” said one FCLC ’10 student who wished to remain anonymous. “Most people [at FCLC] get fake IDs so that they can go out at night in the city, not just so that they can drink, although they obviously drink at clubs too.”

Dane Cotsonas, FCLC ’10, added, “….[there are] many ways to get alcohol without an ID.”

The majority of FCLC students contacted for this article said that getting their hands on a fake ID and then using it successfully to purchase alcohol is, or would be, extremely easy (one student said that, on a difficulty scale of one to 10, with ten being the hardest, acquiring a fake ID is a two).

However, the ease with which fake IDs can be obtained and used may soon change as a result of a new Senate proposal, which could impact the social lives of hundreds of underage FCLC students who depend on their fakes to socialize on the weekends.

The bill, presumably conceptualized in response to the surge of underage drinkers in New York with fake IDs, was proposed in October 2007, and it would increase penalties for both underage individuals who are caught using fake IDs and for those who are caught serving these individuals. In addition, the bill would include punishments for “…those who make and sell fake IDs to…underage [individuals],” according to the New York State Senate Web site. The bill also encourages all establishments to invest in ID scanners.

While other underage students stated that they can sometimes purchase alcohol at a liquor store or at some bars, they also said that it is next to impossible to get into clubs or bars where bouncers card at the door without a fake.

“I would guess that either people have a fake ID, or they don’t like the nightlife scene in New York,” said Brianna Steinhilber,FCLC ’10. “Those are really your only two options. If you want to go out every weekend without having to find lenient places, you have to find an ID,” she said.

A male FCLC ’10 student, who wished to remain anonymous, does not feel that excessive binge drinking is a result of fake IDs. He said, “Binge drinking would probably continue without fakes. Let’s face it, booze is abundant and easily accessible.”  Another student said, “It’s mostly classier nightclubs that card, as opposed to just bars or restaurants.”   Cotsonas, who stated that he does not have a fake ID, also said, “There are plenty of easy ways to get a drink without getting carded in the city.”

The New York Post reported that nightclub owners commended the council’s proposal to more harshly punish those who create fake IDs, stating that it has become difficult to spot increasingly authentic-looking fakes.

Some students, however, feel that bars and clubs don’t care about serving those under 21 and will not tighten restrictions to limit underage drinkers. They are only concerned, one student stated, “with making money”—so long as their establishment stays out of trouble.

Jillian Wax, FCLC ’10, said that she has been working in New York bars and clubs for the past two years. “The clubs never want to call the cops, because a lot of times, they themselves are doing illegal things,” she said. “Worst case scenario is that the bouncer will take your ID [if it is fake] and refuse to give it back, which can usually be avoided if you slip him 20 to 40 bucks. It’s all political.”

A female FCLC ’10 student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Honestly, clubs just want anything that says you’re 21 to protect themselves if cops catch anyone underage in there, so they can say that they checked it.” She stated that her ID looks nothing like her. “Bouncers have outright laughed at my ID, or at people I have been with, but still let us in.”

If an establishment is discovered selling alcohol to underage individuals, it is punished with fines or the loss of a liquor license, the Associated Press reported.

Underage individuals caught with fakes, according to an article in the NYU newspaper The Washington Square News, will incur a maximum penalty of one year in state prison. The minimum penalty, the article states, is a court summons, and most offenders are fined, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws state.

So is having a fake ID worth the risk? For some students, especially those who frequent nightclubs, the answer is yes. Wax said that her social life suffered without a fake ID. “All of my friends have fake IDs,” she said. “Being in the city and going out is almost impossible without some form of fake ID…freshman year, none of us had IDs, and we couldn’t go out,” she said. An anonymous female FCLC ’10 student said, “I know I won’t ask certain people to come out with us if I know a certain club or bar is [strict] with IDs. Even though I’d like their company, when it comes down to it, [those people] will stop the [rest of the] group from getting in.”