Local News

Duke Officials Hope to Dampen Spirits of Underage Drinkers

Posted September 23, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Underage drinkers at Duke will be receiving more than a ticket, if they're arrested by police. The university started sending letters home this week, telling parents about the citations.

In Trinity Park, a neighborhood near east campus, Durham Police arrest students who party too hard. Then, police notify the university, and the university now notifies mom and dad.

Beer bottles and kegs are easy to find on some area porches. But university officials hope the letters will help deter underage students from enjoying them.

"We can have a lot of people and if we're careful we can usually have a great party," one student said.

But families who live in the neighborhood want a more peaceful atmosphere. Janene Thompkins says, "If it's waking my kids up at 2:00 in the morning, I'm gonna probably be knocking on some doors." Lifestyles in the neighborhood clash.

In early September, Durham Police cited 66 students for underage drinking at one Trinity Park party. The names of everyone cited were forwarded to Duke University.

Durham Police Officer John Morris says every parent of every student cited will get a letter about what happened.

Some students say the letters are an insult to their intelligence. Matt Trainor, a Duke Senior, says, "We're supposed to be here, college students, ready to grow up and be out on our own. It seems a little bit ridiculous to call up our parents and say 'Hey, your kids are doing bad, how about you reprimand them we can't quite handle it, how 'bout you take care of it?'"

Reporter: Todd HauerPhotographer:Greg Clark