Keegan Albaugh '07J first met Waterville youths at the South End Teen
Center in a civic engagement class called Children and Adolescents in
Schools and Society, in which Colby students were required to work with
local adolescents to both learn about the real lives of children and to
get involved in the community.
Albaugh felt so connected there that he stayed on at the Teen Center
and for two years (until leaving Waterville in December) served as its
paid teen coordinator weekday afternoons, organizing activities that
range from homework help to cooking.
He also interviewed Colby students and Waterville residents for a
sociology research paper, finding that those who had interactions with
each other ended up with positive impressions.
"I feel that both communities have a lot to offer each other,— Albaugh
said, over lunch at Foss dining hall with friends. "I've definitely
taken advantage of that opportunity. I love Waterville.—
But that sentiment was not shared by all sitting around the table at
Foss. Several students lamented the crackdown on underage drinking by
police in Waterville and the surrounding communities.
Waterville Police Chief John Morris says his get-tough measures are
necessary to ensure peace in Waterville's neighborhoods and to enforce
the state's ban on drinking by minors. Morris means business. Under
Colby regulations, campus security officers bring intoxicated students
to the College's health center, where, if blood alcohol tests reveal
severe intoxication, they are sent by ambulance to the local emergency
room. Waterville police respond to such ambulance calls, and they later
issue citations to underage students if hospital blood tests show
they've been drinking. Sometimes the citations have been issued in the
"If we get there and there is alcohol and they are under twenty-one, we
can't ignore it,— Morris said. "It's our responsibility to uphold the
While the Colby administration has generally good relations with the
local police, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Jim Terhune says their involvement in such cases doesn't sit right with
"I personally don't like the feel of police hanging around a situation
that's medical in nature,— he said. "If a student happens to be in a
situation when they are underage and are intoxicated, that's the
breaks. But I don't like the sense that maybe the police are looking for excuses to give Colby students tickets.—
This September was particularly troublesome for Colby students.
Winslow police busted an off-campus party several miles out in the
countryside after tailing a taxicab with underage Colby students.
Twenty-eight students were cited, with their arrests big news in the
Waterville Sentinel. A $5,000 federal grant to combat underage drinking
paid for the police overtime as the Winslow police worked until 4 a.m.
processing the arrests.
Among those attending the party was Tammy Lewin '07, who was 21 at the
time. Nevertheless, she was detained for two hours that morning while
police used Breathalyzers to determine if the minors had been drinking.
If so, in Maine that's enough to charge underage drinkers with unlawful
possession of alcohol. "Students feel like they are targeted by the
police,— Lewin said.
In early September, before classes began, police raided an off-campus
house on Sheldon Place in downtown Waterville where some underage
students had been drinking. The three Colby students who rented the
house were handcuffed and taken by cruiser to police headquarters to be
charged with furnishing a place for minors to drink.
To avoid a night in jail, they agreed to strict bail conditions. The
students, who were 21 at the time, promised to abstain from drinking
and to not possess alcohol. They also gave up their right to privacy,
agreeing to let the police search their house at any time to make sure
they were complying with these conditions, with a violation bringing
certain jail time.
During the five-week period before their case came to trial, the police
twice visited the house at 10 p.m. to search for alcohol, the students
said. They found none.
"It might sound a little draconian, and I recognize that, but it has brought peace to the community,— says Morris.
Attorney Michaela Murphy '78, who defended the Sheldon Place students,
went to Superior Court in Augusta for a review of the bail conditions
after the house was searched a second time. That resulted in a plea
deal in which the students received a deferred disposition, which means
the charges will be dismissed if they carry out 200 hours of community
service—that's five 40-hour weeks—and don't commit another crime.
"We said enough was enough,— said Murphy, whose son attends Colby and
husband works there. "But students also have to understand the
consequences if they break the law.—
Such policies have put a new twist on the college experience, as was
evidenced one autumn night as a slew of Colby students swathed in togas
gathered at a house on the outskirts of Waterville while the Leonid
meteor showers streaked through the quiet night sky.
This was a Colby party, circa 2006. The students drank Sunday River
microbrew from a keg. They played a drinking game called Beirut with
pingpong balls lobbed into cups of beer. They bent down under the "Ice
Luge— to guzzle vodka poured down a channel cut in a block of ice. In
an allusion to 1978 hit movie Animal House, the students chanted "Toga!
Toga!— and danced to "Shout.—
It may sound like the kind of party Colby alumni experienced back in
the day at houses on Fraternity Row or at off-campus houses in downtown Waterville.