Opinion: Underage college students should rethink fake IDs

Many students purchase fake IDs without realizing the effect using them may have on their future.


Katie Goodale

Photo Illustration by Katie Goodale

Lucas Rochester, Columnist

Fake IDs seem ubiquitous on college campuses. It seems as though more and more underage college students are getting access to alcohol before turning 21 by purchasing fake IDs from online dealers. Many kids may see this as a generally safe mean of obtaining alcohol, but besides the obvious ethical challenges, there are a number of other consequences in owning a fake.

At the University of Iowa, students caught owning a fake can be punished with up to $1,875 in fines and up to a year in jail, according to UI Student Legal Services. That should be enough to deter most students from buying one, right?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, a study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors found that nearly one-third of college students own fakes by their fourth semester.

So, what makes students feel safe purchasing the fakes, despite the massive danger the fallacious identity cards toy with? Here in Iowa City, one can spot many of the bouncers just taking a quick peep at the birthday on one’s ID card, then passing it right back without further inspection. It feels unlikely one will get caught.

The fact is that even though the bar scene in Iowa City might be exhilarating, that doesn’t mean one can’t wait three more years to get there. A flimsy piece of plastic with your name and incorrect birthday on it that can potentially get you a serious misdemeanor is a danger to underage college students. At 18 years old, people are barely even being considered for serious jobs, and yet, these same underage employees want to blacken their livers and butcher their cerebellums.

For students either considering purchasing fakes or possessing one already, now feeling wary amid the potential consequences, there are many other things that can be done for a good, if not even better, time. My colleague Jason O’Day has written about various ways to enjoy a vibrant social life without the inclusion of alcohol.

Most students at the UI are in school to improve their life prospects. This should come to mind every time a decision is made. Getting caught with a fake ID can greatly diminish one’s possible future.

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