With A.S. elections finally upon us, one can't help but wonder if it is going to be another year of apathy, or if this is finally the year that UCSD students will come together and make their collective voice heard.
Apathy has plagued UCSD from the trying times of the voting booth -- ask any Dade County resident how hard that can be -- to the current, convenient method of computer voting.
One reason students might not be so eager to go out and vote is that they don't know what they are actually voting for. Sure, they see the fancy titles on the ballots, but do the students really know what these people's responsibilities are once they get elected? It is doubtful.
With that in mind, here is a crash course in A.S. positions that should come in handy when considering whom to vote for in this year's election.
The school's top spot is not too different from our nation's president, if you really think about it. True, the A.S. president doesn't have a hoard of sexually frustrated interns to choose from, but there are many similarities.
The A.S. president serves as the chief executive officer of the A.S. Council and is the official representative of the undergraduate body. He prepares and submits an annual operating budget. The president also has veto power over any item passed by the A.S. Council.
Unlike the federal government, A.S. Council breaks the job of the vice president into three separate jobs: the vice president internal, the vice president external and the vice president finance.
The vice president internal is the second in command in A.S. Council. He is the acting A.S. president in the president's absence. He runs the council meetings, appoints student representatives to campuswide committees and also oversees the internal affairs of the A.S. Council, such as policies, procedures and administrative council matters.
The vice president external is in charge of lobbying for student issues on a state and national level. He is also in charge of organizing the campuswide voter registration campaign. In addition, the vice president external serves as UCSD's representative to both the University of California Student Association and the United States Student Association.
Finally, the vice president finance is the local guru of everything budgetary at the school. He advises the president and the council on all budgetary matters and is in charge of enforcing all A.S. policies on expenditures of the activity fee. The vice president finance also assists the development of all student organization budgets, organizes the quarterly Student Organization Funding Advisory Board and reviews expenditures of student activity funds.
Commissioner of Student Advocacy
The commissioner of student advocacy, while not one of the more publicized positions, is one of the most important in terms of direct involvement with the students.
This person informs, advises and represents students when conflicts with the university arise. He also acts as the A.S. Council's liaison to the Office of Student Policies and Judicial Affairs.
Commissioner of Communications
Whoever takes this spot in the election will be in charge of all the A.S.-funded student media on campus, including newspapers, magazines, television and radio.
He is also in charge of all media funding, including budgeting and allocation.
The programmer is the most important position on campus to students interested in campus events and concerts.
Whoever fills this position will be in charge of all campus events, including concerts, speakers, comedians and activities. He also provides the entertainment for events such as Late Nite at RIMAC and all-campus dances.
The programmer is in charge of coordinating popular events such as FallFest, WinterFest and the all-important Sun God Festival.
In addition, the programmer is responsible for researching up-and-coming talent to bring to the campus and acts as the student liaison between A.S. Council and music industry professionals.
Commissioner of Academic Affairs
The commissioner of academic affairs is in charge of establishing and maintaining the lines of communication between the Academic Affairs office and all related undergraduate academic programs.
He is also in charge of providing periodic polls and surveys that assess students' concerns.
Commissioner of Student Services and Enterprises
This position is in charge of budgets and the operation of A.S. services and enterprises such as Soft Reserves, Lecture Notes, Grove Caffe, SRTV, KSDT, U.S. Grants, Volunteer Connection and the A.S. Internship office.
The commissioner of student services and enterprises is also the A.S. representative to the Co-op Oversight Committee.
These positions are elected from the individual colleges. A sophomore, junior and senior is elected from each college.
These people serve as representatives of the interests and needs of students in their college and respective class.
All information obtained from A.S. Web site, located at http://asucsd.-ucsd.edu
With the 1999 creation of the Chancellor's Diversity Council and efforts to admit more minority students, it appears everyone is working to increase diversity at UCSD.
However, the issue poses many questions.
What does ""diversity"" really mean and why is it important? Are the changes being made to increase it actually working and are they even needed? Whose responsibility is it to address these questions?
Ask students, faculty and staff and you'll get different answers to each of these questions.
UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes stresses the importance of on-campus diversity -- ethnic, racial and otherwise -- because it fosters the type of strength that he says comes ""from people that aren't part of the Establishment asking questions that the Establishment won't ask,"" and from people ""bringing their own culture and their own wealth of ideas, wealth of perspectives together.""
He continued, ""The strength comes when we all learn -- we don't have to agree with everybody -- but the strength comes when people begin to appreciate and respect different views.""
Dynes said racial diversity is not the only key to achieving this strength; benefits also arise from ""diversity in the broadest sense.""
Some feel it is the school's responsibility to provide UCSD students with an education that includes diversity.
""If we are graduating students who have no background and understanding of diversity, community and multicultural issues, we are not meeting our responsibilities as an institution of higher education,"" said Edwina Welch, director of the Cross-Cultural Center.
On the other hand, UCSD Conservative Union Vice Chairman John Allison says diversity is important at a university, but that making it ""more important than academic excellence"" compromises that excellence.
Ethnic studies professor George Lipsitz feels that such a view is detrimental to diversity at UCSD.
""The toughest thing is for people to see this as a matter of academic and intellectual excellence rather than reparations for other forms of social inequality,"" Lipsitz said.
He also said that many people see the effort to increase diversity on campus as ""an act of charity, but it's a matter of self-interest for our own selves because good scholarly conversation draws on the widest pool of voices.""
Lipsitz said he thinks there are several problems with current admission procedures, which he says help reinforce a lack of diversity at UCSD and give rewards to already privileged students.
The policies and efforts of the Chancellor's Diversity Council, Lipsitz said, are ""well-intentioned but not likely to succeed. I don't think they're seriously going to change the climate on campus.""
So what needs to be changed to make tangible differences in UCSD's diversity?
According to Revelle junior Adam Richards, nothing.
""I do not believe that changes need to be made to the ethnic and racial diversity of UCSD,"" Richards said.
""Though change would certainly be beneficial for all, this change should not be a result of a mandate or regulation involving quotas,"" he continued. ""If more students are admitted that happen to fit into underrepresented groups here at UCSD based on current admission policies, fantastic. However, deliberate changes in admission policy to promote this diversification by allocating quotas are unfair and illegal.""
However, there are many people who do feel changes in diversity at UCSD are necessary, though they do not agree on what those changes should be.
Marshall sophomore Jennifer Richter said any future differences in diversity would require ""people being open to see new cultures ... and get out of their ethnic rut; people being able to feel they are welcome to [do this] no matter what race they are.""
Shaun Travers, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Association at UCSD, seconded the demand for a change initiated not by administrative programs, but by individuals.
""Money can only do so much,"" Travers said. ""What would be better is more of a community.""
Allison does not think efforts being made on campus will affect diversity at UCSD. Student organizations that try to promote education about their various cultures ""do not change the ethnic make-up of students on campus,"" he said. ""The only way the diversity on campus can change is if the people applying to school change.""
How those people applying to UCSD are evaluated, however, affects who is admitted and ultimately who registers.
According to Lipsitz, ""our admissions policy is the worst in the UC system in producing barriers to minority enrollment."" He suggested several ways to boost enrollment of minority students.
Instead of admitting the top 10 percent statewide, admit the top 3 percent from Imperial and San Diego counties, Lipsitz said.
He also suggested de-emphasizing AP courses and adopting a policy that makes A's in a high school's hardest classes the top grade. That way, students are not being punished with lower, weighted grade point averages for attending a high school where few AP courses are offered.
Lipsitz also said UCSD needs to ask students how much S.A.T. preparation they had and then weight scores accordingly. Students from a more affluent socio-economic class, who can take multiple preparation classes for the S.A.T., are compared directly with students from lower-income families who may not have had the same level of preparation.
""[The S.A.T.] does not measure merit, but measures preparation,"" Lipsitz said.
Finally, he wants to see more emphasis in hiring new faculty in areas where UCSD's curriculum has trailed comparable institutions, areas such as African studies, Chicano studies and African-American studies.
According to Dynes, a policy that has improved the diversity at UCSD is our unique transfer program.
""If you want a diverse set of people on campus, you [have to] accept that people have different avenues to get here,"" he said. ""A lot of young people, for whatever reason, would prefer to go to community college for two years than to move into residence here [as freshmen]. But if you look at the performance at graduation of those that came as transfer students compared to those who came as freshmen, their GPAs are indistinguishable, which means that we're doing something right.""
Rebalancing the weights given to numerical factors such as GPA and S.A.T. scores is not the only step some see as important to creating an admissions policy that encourages more ethnic diversity.
UCSD psychologist Linda Young, also the director of a peer support program, said as well that more minority students will be admitted to UCSD by ""changing admissions criteria ... giving weight to attributes such as leadership skills and experiences, oral communication, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility, community service and multicultural competency.""
Some think that increased outreach programs will help foster connections with younger minority students and help prepare them for college. Young said that more funding is needed to conduct outreach and to give greater support to programs that increase ethnic diversity, such as K-12 outreach programs and scholarship funding for underrepresented students.
However, there are those who feel that nothing UCSD does will increase its racial and ethnic diversity.
Marshall junior Lauren Rau said, ""I don't think UCSD can do much because I think the problem starts before people get to college.""
Dynes acknowledged the limitations faced by anyone seeking to increase ethnic diversity in higher education.
""This really is a long-term issue,"" Dynes said. ""The problems are created ... from pre-K all the way through. We can't turn that around overnight. [But] we can help, we can dig in, we can go at what we think are the key issues.""
For change to take place, however, someone needs to assume responsibility. Who that someone is depends on who you talk to.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson said underrepresented students, if concerned, will take on some of the responsibility to make UCSD more attractive, and that these students carry obligations.
But when asked to speak about diversity, some students hesitate, feeling they aren't familiar enough with the topic to express a valid opinion.
When interviewed, Roosevelt senior Jessica Shpall said, ""I don't know if I'm the right person to talk to. I don't know much about it.""
Other students simply aren't concerned.
""When I go into class, I don't really notice what races are in the class. I could really care less: I'm concentrating on getting good grades,"" said Muir senior Jetson Nguyen.
Lipsitz believes that ultimately, the responsibility of increasing diversity at UCSD lies with the faculty.
""If the faculty demanded a different admissions process, we'd have it,"" he said.
Travers, however, said it is the responsibility of the entire campus. He said that when every member of the faculty, staff and student body ""feels their own personal commitment to increase diversity, we'll improve by leaps and bounds.""
In 1999, UCSD's administration created a new position, the chief diversity officer, to oversee diversity. Dynes filled it himself.
Dynes explained, ""I feel that diversity is everybody's job on the campus -- not one person's, not a few people, not the administration, not the students, not the faculty. It's everybody's job, and I felt the only way to make that statement was to appoint myself [as chief diversity officer]. That way, the vice chancellors would be held accountable to me for what they were doing on diversity on campus.""
In light of so much disagreement about changes that need to be made, Lipsitz sees little hope for the future of diversity at UCSD.
""There is little prospect for improvement in the future,"" he said. However, he noted that ""up until now, there hasn't been sufficient will to do it, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.""
Most people feel more confident that UCSD's future will include a more diverse campus.
""I'm optimistic,"" said African-American Student Union member Sarah Abukar. ""With the new open admissions policy, we can only hope to see a greater number of minority students attending the school in the future.""
Dynes shares that optimism.
""The real goal is to have a community on this campus, and I mean a community ... that is welcoming to any and all differences, so that you can embrace and respect differences that people bring, and celebrate them,"" Dynes said. ""We're going that direction, we're just not there yet. If I didn't believe we could get there, I wouldn't push it.""
Also hopeful for a future with increased diversity, David Brown Mitchell, a member of the AASU, said that with more diversity, "" the campus will gain new ideas, perceptions, intelligence, creativity, culture, music and interests. In short, it will itself become more well-rounded.""
Travers shared this sentiment, saying that with increased diversity UCSD will gain ""wisdom ... it will be vibrant. There will be energy, disagreement and protest ... and that creates education.""
As with many of my fellow Democratic supporters, I have had to come to terms with the outcome of our recent presidential election. Finding an uncomfortable reassurance in the fabric of American political principles, I am resolved to ride out the Bush presidency without excessive bitterness. This will not, however, prevent me from gently venting my concerns over the current state of the Bush administration, and in particular, the competency of our commander in chief.
Last week, many Americans turned on the evening news, or perhaps even opened up a newspaper, to discover the shocking announcement that the United States and Great Britain had conducted an air strike against the lowly nation of Iraq. For those viewers who managed to remain attentive after hearing the words ""air strike"" and ""Iraq"" in the same sentence, the startling headlines were followed by a vague outline of events and last, but not least, a statement by Bush himself.
The president, speaking on behalf of his country and in the presence of foreign officials, offered only four sentences on the developing situation in Iraq:
""Since 1991, our country has been enforcing what's called a no-fly zone. A routine mission was conducted to enforce the no-fly zone. And it is a mission about which I was informed, and I authorized. But I repeat: It's a routine mission, and we will continue to enforce the no-fly zone until the world is told otherwise.""
I certainly cannot speak for the majority of Americans, but a statement about U.S. military actions that uses ""routine mission"" twice in the course of four brief sentences strikes me as either deceptive or uninformed.
Though our dear commander in chief has been known to blunder a syllable on occasion, I believe that his statement demonstrates more a lack of information than a lack of oratory skills. Looking behind the game face that Bush has perfected for the public arena, the eyes of the man more often than not express a wondering panic -- as if trying to formulate the correct combination of buzzwords to quell the inquiries of the press.
The president's brief, jumbled statements should not be seen as anything new. Throughout the campaign, even the mainstream media was attracted to Bush's brief moments of oratory ineptitude (A complete record is kept at http://slate.msn.com/Features/bushisms/bushisms.asp), but these are merely the curtains that line the stage of what ought to concern us. What the public -- and the media in particular -- should have been concerned with were the moments when it became painfully obvious that Bush lacked substance.
During the debates, for instance, the issue of affirmative action was raised. Former Vice President Al Gore repeatedly asked for former Gov. Bush's position on the issue, refusing to accept Bush's initial endorsement of a vague ""affirmative access"" program. The vice president pressed Bush on the issue, asking if he agreed with a nonquota-based affirmative action, as the Supreme Court had interpreted it.
The silence on the stage was deafening as Bush looked at Gore without answering, and then to moderator Jim Lehrer. Lehrer never made Bush answer the question.
The demeanor Bush carried when pressed for an answer by Gore revealed something to everyone paying attention at that moment. Bush's silence and blank expression were not, as some deliberate, a matter of political prudence or strategy; they were candid proof that Bush simply did not understand what he was being asked. Continually referring to quota-based affirmative action, Bush clearly demonstrated that he was not aware that the Supreme Court has invalidated such practices after the Bakke case in 1978 -- something that should be common knowledge for any presidential candidate.
Following the debate, I eagerly waited for the media, our trumpeted fourth branch of government, to evaluate each candidate's performance. Surely, I thought, such an obvious nonresponse on a salient issue would garner the criticism of news anchors and newspaper editors everywhere. Of course, it did not.
Herein lies the reason that Bush was able to succeed in ""winning"" the election. The media saw the serious, substantive flaws that Bush presented in becoming the Republican candidate; instead of critically evaluating his qualifications, the debate and his substance, they balked when faced with their duty to report the truth. Lehrer, in acting as moderator for the debates, neglected his duty to make Bush answer a hard question, irrespective of whether it would have made Bush look bad.
I believe that the media saw these unsettling occasions that demonstrated a shallow and wholly unqualified knowledge of the issues, but nonetheless chose not to point them out.
Was it because it would look like the media were low-blowing a candidate? Did it think the public would criticize it for pointing out such personal flaws? I doubt it was that, either.
In reality, I think that the media was hesitant to boldly challenge a major party candidate's qualifications. In doing so, perhaps it thought it would excessively criticize the system as a whole.
Whatever may be true of the media's action, or lack thereof, the fact remains that Bush has been elected president and our concerns ought to focus on the present. As I gather from his fragmented explanation of the recent intervention in Iraq, the president's knowledge of such issues appears to be scant.
Some have suggested that such vague comments are for the purpose of being politically succinct, but I would lend more credence to the hypothesis that Bush is increasingly becoming the mouthpiece for political players behind the scenes. Experienced politicians and insiders in the Bush camp, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and adviser Karl Rove, have always retained a central position in making key decisions.
I believe that given Bush's actions and statements in his brief number of days in office, these advisors have assumed a tremendous amount of authority within the White House. Bush's lack of substantive depth over the actions being carried out by his administration would support this idea. All presidents rely on their advisors to guide policy, but it seems quite plausible to suggest that Bush has taken a back seat to his.
Most of the public will laugh with amusement in the years to come as Bush's follies are reported by late-night comedy shows, but few will come to realize that such anecdotes reveal a more troubling picture. Through his charisma, charm and folksy qualities, the public has come to accept Bush's facade, not caring to examine his ability or, more importantly, those he chooses to entrust with his authority. If we are citizens who value the integrity of representative government, then we must ask the question: Whom does Bush represent?
In 1996, Proposition 209’s affirmative action ban in public
institutions left the
to maintain its diverse population, but while still adhering to state law. UCSD
in particular has dedicated itself to promoting the admission of
underrepresented minorities through outreach programs that encourage black,
Latino and Native American students to apply to the university, and if
accepted, choose to enroll as a student — a roundabout technique that avoids
considering race as a concrete admissions factor within the actual admissions
The legislation makes it illegal to consider race, sex,
color, ethnicity or national origin in decisions such as college admissions,
business contracts and public-sector jobs.
This issue first helicoptered into the UC system in 1995,
when the UC Board of Regents passed a resolution prohibiting admissions
committees from employing affirmative action. That same year a conservative
movement, spearheaded by then-UC Regent Ward Connerly, placed Proposition 209
on the ballot, which passed by 54 percent.
In the past decade UCSD’s undergraduate population has grown
by 46 percent. At the same time, there are fewer black and Native American
students than before the legislation passed. And while the number of Latino
student has nearly doubled, it still constitutes the same percentage as when
Proposition 209 arrived.
Many on campus programs that have developed skirt the
proposition’s language, promoting diversity without falling under the
categorization of affirmative action. These “diversity activities” are programs
and organized outreach plans that specifically target historically
underrepresented minorities. Statistics show that among minority students
admitted to UCSD, the number of those that accept their admissions offer is
relatively low, which in turn contributes to the low numbers of such students
on campus. For these various diversity-minded groups, one key focus is the
increase of “yield” statistics — which is to increase the number of
already-admitted minority students who choose to enroll at UCSD.
Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Jorge
Huerta chaired a university-commissioned committee that explored ways to
increase “yield,” and released report in March 2007. The report detailed some
of the diversity activities already in place and proposed others to increase
The African American Studies minor and the Chicano and
Latino Arts and Humanities minor are two such programs. But these are only some
of the many creative solutions that operate within Proposition 209’s
restrictions while contributing to the growth of on-campus diversity.
Such yield-boosting diversity activities are helping to
increase diversity in the context of state laws that prohibit affirmative
“It’s about getting out there and doing what’s legal, [and]
reaching out to the students who wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity,”
His office is working on a myriad of programs to increase
outreach and awareness, in an attempt to expand racial diversity at UCSD.
“The numbers are really striking when you look at the
various groups,” Huerta said of UCSD’s admissions rates. “It’s not a reflection
of the population.”
Meanwhile, supporters of Proposition 209 argue against
affirmative action, as a way to increase diversity in higher education.
Connerly, for instance, has remained an ever-vocal critic of affirmative
action, and many believe his efforts to be largely responsible for the advent
of Proposition 209. Since his term as regent, Connerly has helped to bring
about similar measures in public universities in Washington, Michigan and
Connerly contends that using affirmative action in college
admissions hurts students of underrepresented ethnicities. He believes that
affirmative action sends a negative message to high-achieving minority students
that they need an extra boost in order to be admitted to college.
According to Huerta, historically underrepresented minority
students are even disadvantaged long
before the admissions process, as they often compete against students from more
affluent high schools that usually sponsor more advanced placement, honors and
college-preparatory classes. This contributes to recent downward admissions and
enrollment trends for underrepresented minority students at UCSD.
“They don’t have the same privileges, they don’t have the
same opportunities,” Huerta said.
However, Huerta remains hopeful that his office can sponsor
programs to increase UCSD’s overall diversity.
“We’re looking for excellence and equity,” he said.
With over half of UCSD's student population under the age of 21, fake identification cards are used frequently to purchase alcohol and to get by security at bars and night clubs. Although most minors know that possession of alcohol and the use of a false identity are crimes with heavy penalties, that doesn't stop the masses of liquor-hungry minors who successfully cheat the law each weekend.
In San Diego, which is home to three large universities and many junior colleges, liquor-selling establishments and police officers are on guard for drinking and the use of fake IDs. Minors who use false identification to purchase alcohol should be on guard as well, especially at establishments close to university campuses.
Both Ralphs and a local mom-and-pop liquor stores admit that they urge their employees to be suspicious because of the volume of underage shoppers trying to buy alcohol. These establishments have on hand the Alcoholic Beverage Control identification manual, their ""bible,"" said one owner.
However, employees do not necessarily have training for spotting false IDs. ABC officer Carl DeWing said that ABC does run a voluntary program called ""Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs,"" in which they train employees and employers on how to spot fake IDs, intoxicated people and drugs.
Most establishments, however, opt not to participate in the program. When faced with a shopper who looks to be under 30, their guess is as good as yours. Employees who unknowingly sell alcohol to a minor usually lose their jobs. They can be taken to court and can be fined or penalized.
The liquor-selling establishment undergoes a different set of penalties. The 1995 ABC Three Strikes Law was passed in California due to the state legislature's realization that ""a serious problem"" with drinking among minors exists in the state, DeWing said.
For a first offense, ABC enforces a 15-day license suspension, substitutable with a fine of 50 percent of an establishment's total income for 15 days. For the second offense in a three-year period, the establishment's liquor license is suspended for 25 days with no possibility of a fine. The third offense is a revocation of the liquor license, the equivalant death sentence for a business in a majority of cases.
While the ABC deals with the establishment's penalties for the crime, the local police department handles the criminal aspect for minors. Minors caught buying alcohol with a fake ID will get between 28 and 32 hours of community service, a $250 fine, and may have their driver's licenses suspended for up to one year. This is a zero-tolerance offense.
The charge is possession of alcohol. If the ID used is a California one, both a California vehicle code violation and a business and professional code violation are tacked on. If the ID is out of state, only the latter is charged. According to the San Diego Police Department, there is no difference in penalties between using a fake ID and using someone else's borrowed ID.
However, simply possessing a fake ID does not necessarily come with heavy consequences. Police detained Muir sophomore Philip Miller one night, and they searched his wallet.
""I had an out-of-state ID, a really shitty one that only worked in high school,"" Miller said. ""But they just confiscated it and never said another word about it to me.""
The police department sends undercover officers into liquor-selling establishment to see if they are furnishing alcohol to minors. They also patrol nightclubs and places of high concentration of people for overintoxication, overcrowding, drugs and other activities in the crowd.
The local law enforcement also sends minor decoys into establishments to make sure they're not furnishing alcohol to minors. The decoys are usually police cadets, boy scouts, relatives of police officers or members of the local Boys Club, and are supervised by a police officer. They must reveal their true identity to the employee to avoid entrapment.
The Minor Decoy Operation was challenged in 1992, but in 1994 it was proven a valid method, granted that the decoys don't try to bribe, lie or otherwise induce sale, and that they look over the age of 21.
The hesitation and precautions that liquor-selling establishments use when selling to a shopper who looks to be under 30 are well-founded. The owner of a mom-and-pop liquor store near UCSD said that officers come in two to three times a year and hang around the store for 10 to 20 minutes, pretending to read magazines. He cards every shopper because he is near campus and has a lot at stake because the store is a family business. As a result, he said, he has refused sales to up to 20 customers in a weekend.
The Ralphs Corporation denies sale to out-of-state ID holders, and although disputes naturally arise, its policy holds fast. Unlike the mom-and-pop store, however, it confiscates suspect identification that does not conform to the ABC handbook. The average confiscations vary from 10 to 15 every few months.
Moondoggie's Restaurant in Pacific Beach confiscates IDs as well. Its policy includes the use of flashlights to check ID cards, and close examination to see if the ID matches its owner. It accepts out-of-state IDs and confiscates one to two IDs per night on average. The restaurant's owner said that the number of IDs confiscated is larger during spring break and other times of high patronage.
Muir sophomore Nicole Caven had her ID taken by Moondoggies on a weekday afternoon. ""The guy was a real asshole,"" Caven said. ""He asked me a lot of questions, my age, when I graduated from high school and ended up confiscating my ID. It cost me 50 bucks.""
Even with these restrictions and the possibility of legal penalty, minors have always found ways to get around the rules. For those who own fake IDs, fraudulently using the state seal is a misdemeanor. However, for those who make fake IDs, illegal reproduction of the California insignia is a felony.
A local student and maker of fake IDs said he is aware of these consequences, yet he still does it ""to help people out."" He makes IDs for underage friends, for those 21 and over with underage significant others, and even for people wanting to reap the financial benefits of youth ski passes.
The process is simple. One creates a template from scratch on a computer, then fills in the necessary information and photo.
""All you need is a good scanner and a Photoshop program,"" the student who makes the IDs said.
The type of fake ID he makes usually costs between $60 and $100, but he charges $40 because he said he's not in it for the money.
He and his friends only used a few key tools and the smarts they came to school with to create the IDs. He said at universities with students who are smart, driven, underage and who have the desire to purchase alcohol, it is ridiculous for authorities to assume that minors won't find a way.
The Internet is also a growing source for purchasing illegal identification. There are dozens of Internet sites devoted to the sale of fabricated identification.
These sites describe their products as ""novelty"" and ""souvenir"" items, and many have disclaimers notifying the buyer of the legal repercussions. IDs can cost up to $100 on these sites but mostly range from $40 to $60. The business is growing and the locations of the sites are difficult to track. Although these sites are illegal, law enforcement would rather spend their time and effort preventing the sale of alcohol to minors than tracking down small-time hackers.
Using false identification is a crime commonly committed by minors, especially in university towns. Police will continue to crack down just as minors will continue to rebel. Minors, however, should be aware of the legal penalties for this crime and the hazard it brings to the establishments from which they buy.