Eight Bowdoin students were cited early Sunday morning for furnishing alcohol to minors at a party at the students’ off-campus residence. The party was held at 49 Pleasant Street, known by Bowdoin students as “Red Brick House.” All eight residents of the house are members of the men’s Ultimate Frisbee team.
The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) issued court summonses requiring the students to appear in court in mid-November. A 20-year-old student, who is not a resident of the house, lied about their age and was cited for possessing alcohol as a minor—a civil violation. The house residents may face more severe consequences.
Furnishing alcohol to minors is a class D misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
BPD Commander Mark Waltz said that the police action was not intended to serve as a warning to students.
“I wouldn’t say so much a warning. I think it’s probably just showing we meant what we said,” said Waltz.
“What we told the students was, ‘if you are honest with the officers and you’re respectful and cooperative, the first time we run into you, you’re likely to just get a warning for stuff like possession,’” Waltz said, citing a recent meeting with students living off campus.
“On the other hand, you don’t want to be the one providing the alcohol or the place to drink the alcohol because that’s a criminal thing. And we really can’t look the other way on that, so you’re likely to get charged,” Waltz continued.
Officers initially responded to an area adjacent to the home, near the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, after receiving a noise complaint from a neighbor, according to a police report.
Around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, police stopped and questioned four students who were walking on a sidewalk near the residence. In interviews with the Orient, three of the students said they performed breath tests at the request of police.
Waltz explained the devices were Preliminary Breath Tests, or PBTs, the results of which are not admissible in court as evidence of intoxication. The department’s only Intoxilyzer, which produces results that are admissible in court, is located at BPD headquarters.
The questioning lasted approximately 30 minutes, and one of the students described the officer’s demeanor as “hostile.”
“While [one officer] was writing things down and asking us individually where we were from and what our birthdays were, the other officer was kind of reinforcing these threats of ‘if you do not comply it will be a lot worse for you, so it would be much easier if you were just honest with us,’” said another of the students interviewed.
Waltz said the responding officers then proceeded to the residence after they saw students leaving the house.
After entering the Pleasant Street residence, police issued the summonses to each of the residents. Two of those cited are 22, five are 21 and one is 20.
“The eight people that were summonsed admitted they were tenants of the apartment,” said Chief of Police Richard Rizzo.
The responding officers also issued warnings to some of the underage students who were in the house.
“I’m sorry to everyone who was at the house when the police showed up. [It’s] not an easy situation for anyone,” said one of the residents in an email to the Orient. “I hope other off-campus houses can use us as a wake-up call just to be safe and careful going forward.”
“Obviously there won’t be parties at Red Brick in the foreseeable future, and the bottom line is we’re going to protect ourselves,” said the same student in a subsequent interview.
Of the seven other residents, three declined to be interviewed, while the other four did not respond to a request for comment.
Editor’s Note: It is the policy of the Orient not to publish the names of students accused of a crime until they have been formally charged.