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10 Colleges With the Most Liquor-Law Disciplinary Actions

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

College is a great place to learn about all kinds of things, including what happens when you break liquor laws.

And like seemingly everything related to the American college system, there's now a ranking of the colleges with the most liquor law violations in the country.

Which schools' students had the most tears in their beers?

You've Got to Fight for Your Right to Party

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education (and reported by The Huffington Post), the Top 10 colleges with the most liquor-law disciplinary actions in 2012 were:

  1. West Virginia University, with 2,446 liquor-related disciplinary actions;
  2. New York University, with 2,086;
  3. The Ohio State University, with 1,924;
  4. University of Wisconsin-Madison, with 1,918;
  5. University of California, San Diego, with 1,781;
  6. University of California, Santa Cruz, with 1,687;
  7. Michigan State University and its law school, with 1,481;
  8. University of Colorado Boulder, with 1,420;
  9. Colorado State University - Fort Collins, with 1,299; and
  10. The University of Vermont, with 1,188.

You can see the entire graph with the Top 20 schools below:

What Happens If You Violate Your College's Liquor Laws?

Although you may face arrest and criminal penalties for alcohol violations, it's more likely, as the chart reflects, that college students caught violating liquor laws will face disciplinary action by their school. For example, West Virginia University (WVU), the school with the most liquor-related student disciplinary actions (more than 2,400) in 2012, only saw 799 liquor-law arrests during that same time period.

According to WVU's Student Code, "prohibited alcohol related conduct" such as DUI, underage drinking, giving alcohol to someone underage, or being drunk in public can be punished by one or more of the following:

  • Expulsion,
  • Suspension,
  • Probation,
  • A warning,
  • Loss of privileges,
  • Restitution, and/or
  • Other sanctions including removal from University housing, community service, or education classes.

Just like the criminal justice system, many schools have a particular procedure in place to address student-code violations. At WVU, a complaint can be filed by students, staff, or community members who suspect a violation. That triggers an investigation that may result in charges against the student.

For charges not seeking suspension or expulsion, the complaint can be handled in an informal conference between the student and the Student Code Administrator. For charges punishable by expulsion or suspension, a student may enter into a resolution with the school, or request a full hearing -- essentially a trial by a jury of students and faculty.

Because the consequences of a liquor-law violation can be serious even if police aren't involved, students facing potential discipline may wish to consult an experienced defense lawyer. While a lawyer can't guarantee that you'll beat the charges, at least you'll have a professional advocate on your side.

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