Seven GW students who were arrested for underage drinking by the Metropolitan Police Department last week will face additional sanctions from the University, said Mike Walker, senior assistant dean of students.
The students, who ranged in age from 18 to 20, were arrested at local bars last Thursday and Saturday nights by undercover Alcoholic Beverage Control officers.
Four GW students, along with several other underage drinkers, were taken into custody by MPD Thursday for alleged underage alcohol possession at Lulu’s, a club located at 1217 22nd St.
Two more GW students were arrested Saturday at The Cellar, a club located at 2100 M St., across the street from Lulu’s.
The same night, another GW student was charged with underage possession of alcohol at a bar at 3708 S St. in Adams Morgan.
“They came in and took about a half dozen people out of here,” said Al Chadsey, Lulu’s general manager.
“The ABC (officials) were on the street that night,” he said. “They had been to Garrett’s, Nathan’s and Champion’s earlier that week, and we got word that they were out and about and might be headed down. But we thought we were adequately prepared.”
One bartender said 20 people were led out in handcuffs, and that “18-year-olds were walking all over the place with beers.”
Chadsey said there may have been a breakdown in the bar’s system of checking identification at the door, but he said, to the best of his knowledge, every patron was carded.
“We ID at the front door, and we have a book with all 50 current state driver’s licenses,” he said. “No one underage was served that we know of.”
Chadsey said he thought the underage people arrested were holding drinks for others.
“We have a policy of not allowing drinks in the bathrooms,” Chadsey said. “One girl who was arrested claimed that she was holding a drink for her friend. It’s possible.”
“The police asked to see my license when they came in. They spent quite a bit of time looking around before making themselves known. They were young-looking, dressed like college kids, very inconspicuous,” Chadsey said.
Chadsey said in the six years he has run the nightclub, Lulu’s has never received violations.
“We run a tight ship,” Chadsey said. “We have flashlights and we go around to check to see if people drinking have wristbands or not. But it’s a big place and things can happen.”
He said his typical response to underage drinkers is to confiscate their beverages and ask them to leave.
Chadsey said he had not been contacted by authorities regarding any possible fines that might be imposed on his establishment for serving minors.
Lulu’s will now admit only patrons over 21 years of age until further notice.
“It’s not good if we broke the law, obviously,” Chadsey said.
For the University’s part, Walker said he learned of the arrests through student gossip.
“The GW rumor mill was churning,” he said. “In fact, the students knew first (about the incidents). News wound up back at the administration in a circuitous fashion. UPD was able to ascertain who had been involved.”
“These are chargeable offenses under GW’s Student Code of Conduct under the section `violation of law,’ ” Walker said.
“The typical response is a substance abuse program and a potential fine,” Walker said. “But if we find the students were using fake IDs, that would incur additional sanctions.”
Walker said the University is justified in charging the students even though their violations occurred off campus.
“If there are registered students involved in illegal activity and the University is informed, we would take those actions under consideration. It depends on the nature of the arrest and its proximity to campus.
“We are at the mercy of MPD,” Walker said. “When they decide to crack down sometimes they let us know.”
When MPD informs administrators of illegal activity by GW students, Walker said the University usually will take action.
In fact, Walker said he would not rule out the possibility of charging students who have run-ins with the law in their hometowns during the summer.
“With the current situation, we are not going to hesitate on this issue,” Walker said. “Our goal is education, and this is an opportunity to provide direction to those involved.”