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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Kamalani Akeo talks with members of the womens volleyball coaching staff in 2021.
Kamalani Akeo: An unsung hero contributing to the success of Pitt volleyball
By Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer • 10:10 am

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Kamalani Akeo talks with members of the womens volleyball coaching staff in 2021.
Kamalani Akeo: An unsung hero contributing to the success of Pitt volleyball
By Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer • 10:10 am

Students reflect, debate uses of fake IDs

Two+people+exchange+ID+cards.+
Hannah Levine | Staff Photographer
Two people exchange ID cards.

Fake IDs often offer underage students the opportunity to go to bars while bringing serious risks to the holder. 

B.S., a first-year psychology major, said they wanted to buy one so they have more options for weekend plans. 

“I wanted to get one because I felt so limited in what I could do on weekends, more specifically where I could go,” B.S. said. “Most of my friends already have one, so there would be numerous occasions when my friends wanted to — or did go to [bars] that require a scanning ID.”

Similarly, sophomore finance major J.C. said they believe it’s almost necessary to have a fake ID in order to socialize in college. 

“I’ve had one since I was 17,” J.C. said. “Also, the party scene here is heavily focused on bars. Not much to do if you don’t have one. It makes me sound bad, but social life in college is focused around drinking.”

J.C. went on to say it is a tool, but should be used responsibly. 

“Owning a fake is a more social thing,” J.C. said. “Bars on campus can be an escape from the studying and boring parts of college. Sometimes you just need a drink and to dance with your friends. You need to be smart about it, though. It’s smart to know all the possible consequences when owning one.”

There are a variety of crimes associated with owning or possessing a fake ID. Carrying or possessing a fake ID is a summary offense, leading to a possible 90 days in jail and/or $300 fine

It is a more serious offense to use a fake ID to purchase, consume, transport or possess alcohol. This can lead to a $500 fine and up to $1,000 for each subsequent offense. Similarly, presenting the police with a fake ID is a misdemeanor and could result in six months in jail. 

Fake IDs, or “fakes” as they are more commonly known, are often expensive and tedious to purchase. First-year business analytics major Asha Hunt said that was a factor in her decision to not purchase one. 

“It just didn’t seem like it would be worth the money I would spend on it to never use,” Hunt said. “I would maybe use it once or twice the entire year.”

Given their illegality, the sales and distribution of the product are frequently sketchy. B.S. recounts their harrowing experience buying one.

“I ordered my ID with about 15 people that I met on the bus to a football game,” B.S. said. “The guy we placed the order from said it would be $50-$60 for two copies and it would take two to three weeks to arrive. Not only did it take over four weeks for them to get through customs, but then the package got lost and the order had to be replaced. We ordered them in early September and did not receive them until mid-January.”

J.C. emphasized feeling safer at bars compared to parties. 

“I don’t trust frats,” J.C. said. “I want to go to a bar where I can see them making my drink and I can order the specific one I want. The bars here are clean and not sweaty frat basements — for the most part, anyways. I think bars are safer altogether.”

Drinking as a social aspect isn’t for everyone. Hunt said her social scene doesn’t revolve around alcohol, which is why she doesn’t find a fake ID necessary. 

“I decided against buying a fake ID because I knew I wouldn’t have much of a use for it,” Hunt said. “I didn’t drink a lot in high school, and I knew when I got to college I probably wouldn’t want to drink a lot either.”

The exact numbers and statistics on fake ID usage are difficult to quantify. The National Library of Medicine puts the number of underage college students owning fake IDs around 20%.

B.S. also said now that they have an ID, their social life has improved.

“It’s just been a lot easier and stress-free,” B.S. said. “I am now able to go pretty much wherever I want and I don’t have to worry about not being able to go out with my friends.”

Despite the tribulations of attaining their fake ID, J.C. said they still feel it was worth it for the ultimate benefits.

“I had a friend order from this guy,” J.C. said. “Yeah, it’s sketch, but there’s only so much risk you can avoid. Mine was two for $90. They were expensive but worth it. I’ve never been turned away or been rejected. I’ve gotten my use out of that $90.”

Students make their choices whether or not to purchase a fake ID. For those not comfortable with the risk involved, Hunt offers alternatives to going out. 

“I think that students should do what’s best for them,” Hunt said. “It’s all about balance. It isn’t good for me to stay in with a good movie night or dinner all the time, but I also know I wouldn’t be happy going out all the time. For some, that balance tips more towards going out. A fake ID would be useful for them.”

About the Contributor
Patrick Diana, Staff Writer