Fine increase is unfair

WC Editorial Board

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Yesterday, Macomb City Council held its first reading for proposed fine increases for drinking related tickets. The proposed increased will be voted on and will likely pass next Monday, and would mark the first fine increase in seven years.

These fine increases will directly affect students. Obviously, students make up the majority of the individuals who receive these fines.

Yes, students should be fined for breaking the law, but there seems to be no reason to raise the amount by which they are punished other than to simply rake in more money from students.

Although the fines are created as deterrents, there is no evidence to show that these fines will actually stop the behavior in question. College students drinking seems to be an inevitable truth of our time, and clearly a $50 increase to fines is not going to be enough of a deterrent to make students stay home and avoid intoxication.

These increases are supposed to parallel college towns, but Champaign-Urbana and other larger towns hardly seem comparable to Macomb.

Not to mention, the increases are not comparable to neighboring municipalities.

For example, the fine for open container in Colchester, Ill. is only $100, whereas Macomb’s penalty is $250. The fee for underage consumption in Colchester starts at $250 rather than the proposed Macomb fine of $300.

If these fines were not a direct attack on the student population of Macomb, then one would assume fine increases would mirror the neighboring municipalities rather than other college towns who have equally attempted to profit from college students’ behaviors.

These fines simply illustrate the classic “town and gown” divide.

The city of Macomb wants to further prosecute students for drinking, but is unwilling to offer better options for students, or help to advertise the options available to them.

If the city of Macomb truly wanted to discourage underage drinking, perhaps they would encourage more activities that are not centered on drinking.

Most businesses in the square close before 6 p.m., except for the bars. The bowling alley seems to be the one option for students who are looking to have a night out in Macomb without alcohol, but surely one option is not enough.

Next week, the annual celebration of “Town and Gown” takes place at the Forum, from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. This is one event that is supposed to bring the city and the University together, but not even this event is geared torwards students, with the $20 cover charge.

There is a need for understanding on both sides of this issue.

Yes, some college students, at times, act extremely irresponsibly and can be disruptive to their surroundings; however, this does not warrant concluding that all students behave irresponsibility and should be subjected to such harsh fines.