On Tuesday, education and community leaders vowed to wage an unprecedented campaign against illegal alcohol consumption in Lawrence.
Mayor Marty Kennedy, Haskell Indian Nations University President Bob Martin and Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway convened at city hall to endorse 11 recommendations from the task force. The trio agreed to the necessity of a coordinated effort to influence local consumers and marketers of spirits.
There is cause for urgency in Lawrence, given that a task force survey revealed 39 percent of KU students and 28 percent of Haskell students reported drinking to the point of unconsciousness in the past year.
Kennedy said the city commission ought to crack down on minors caught in possession of alcohol. Raising the current fine from $200 to $300 and adding a community-service component to sentences would create a stronger deterrent, the mayor said.
"We do want to increase the prosecution," he said. "They must be aware of the consequences."
Kennedy said commissioners should consider task force suggestions to impose mandatory training and licensing of bartenders, regulate consumption of kegs at private parties and open a detoxification facility in the city. He enthusiastically endorsed offering $500 Crime Stoppers rewards for the conviction of people selling fake identification cards to underage drinkers.
"We are really going to take this one head-on," Kennedy said.