Drinking Rights and Responsibilites

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One of the most exciting parts of the college experience is having the opportunity to spend time with friends. Whether it’s studying for a class, heading to football games or going to a fun party, Michigan State University is full of social events that cater to everyone’s interests. The party scene at MSU is one of a kind, but the most important aspect of having a college experience is graduating and preparing for your career. So how does one have a social life and manage to stay out of trouble along the way? The writers at ing have some tips that can help students navigate the MSU party scene safely.

Drinking in the Dorms

MSU has strict regulations that prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages in classrooms, lecture halls, Spartan Stadium, the Breslin Center and other public places on campus. Students over the age of 21 are allowed to consume alcohol in the privacy of their dorms, but they must keep the door closed and handle themselves maturely. Students of legal age are not allowed to serve alcohol to minors or leave their alcohol in a place that is accessible to minors.

In accordance with state law, underage drinking in the dorms is prohibited. But for those who find themselves in sticky situations with alcohol, the best thing to do is cooperate with resident assistants and the police. One of the biggest concerns regarding underage drinking — apart from the fact that it is illegal — is that it is dangerous to a young person’s health. Often times when young adults drink alcohol for the first time, things get out of control and students end up sick. So the next time you are faced with the dilemma of cooperating with police, remember that their goal is to ensure students’ safety and to follow state law. Attitude, level of cooperation and the way in which people carries themselves determines how the situation will be handled.

Medical Amnesty

Anyone who has ever wandered around the outskirts of campus on a weekend can see that there is no shortage of parties in East Lansing. It’s no surprise that underage students manage to get their hands on alcohol, possibly putting themselves in serious danger.

In the interest of student safety, the state of Michigan passed a law to protect underage drinkers from prosecution in the case of seeking medical assistance. Public Act 125, commonly referred to as “medical amnesty,” states that any person that has been drinking underage is exempt from legal consequences if they call for medical help, or if it’s requested for them by another.

Passed in 2012, the medical amnesty law is a big step in protecting underage drinkers from serious harm.

Medical amnesty was created to prevent serious injuries or death related to alcohol consumption and to preserve the safety of all college students in Michigan. More information about the medical amnesty law can be found at asmsu.msu.edu.

Keg Registration

Michigan has recently joined approximately 30 states that enforce keg registration. The new law requires a tag or sticker to be attached to kegs when purchased that can be traced back to the buyer for up to one month.

It’s no secret that underage drinking is and will be a constant concern from a legal standpoint but, more importantly, it threatens the health of those who participate, and unfortunate bystanders are all too often caught in the crosshairs of intoxicated minors.

What is the true impact of requiring keg registration? To start, there is an additional cost the vendors must pay to supply kegs with tags that track the kegs’ whereabouts. However, a more startling aspect is the fee that has the potential to be charged as a misdemeanor if a customer loses the keg tag or fails to return it. This could result in a $500 fine and just over three months in jail. It’s no surprise that the added paperwork, cost and possible jail time is enough to prevent many people from purchasing kegs.

It would be easy to assume that this would act as an effective preventative tactic in underage drinking. However, other states that have had this law sanctioned longer have found this to be false. There have been few, if any, cases where keg registration was utilized in an arrest or a convicting piece of evidence. In actuality, states that have enacted this law have seen an increase in traffic fatalities where the driver is an intoxicated minor. There has been speculation that the new tracking laws are leading minors to other forms of alcohol that generally have a higher alcohol content, such as hard liquor.

While keg registration has not proved to be the most effective way of preventing accidents and protecting minors, it doesn’t mean that students can’t help themselves and others. Knowing and understanding drinking laws and personal limits can help keep everyone safe.


Ashley Lyles is a senior professional writing major from Southfield, MI. She is pre-med and hopes to someday pursue a career in science writing. When she isn’t studying for classes, she is reading fashion blogs and perusing articles on the latest advances in healthcare.

Casey McDougall is a professional writing major specializing in publishing and editing. She enjoys reading, zumba and creative writing in her free time, when she has it. Her dream is to work in a publishing house in London, England, with an open couch for traveling friends.

Megan Gilhooly is a senior studying professional writing and communication as a double major. Her talents range from finishing a full Netflix season in a week to reading an entire book in one day. She also enjoys coffee, the gym and creative writing in her free time.


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