Bar Violations Near Ohio MAC Schools


Bars near Ohio University lead in bar violations compared to MAC schools in Ohio

Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

Bars near Ohio University led in violations when compared to Ohio universities in the Mid-American Conference during the last twenty years.

Bars within a two-mile radius of OU had 342 violations, ranging from underage drinking to taxation issues, according to The Post’s analysis of permit holder violation records. That is the most compared to bars within two miles of of the University of Akron, Miami University, Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo and Kent State University.

bar violations


OU has 23 establishments that serve alcohol within a two-mile radius of the campus. A total of 98 bars in the MAC were analyzed. Akron had the second highest number of bars with a total of 16 bars near its campus and a total of 271 violations.

With 10 underage drinking violations in the last five years, bars near OU make up nearly half of the 23 underage drinking violations issued near universities within the MAC.

Courtside Pizza, located at 85 N. Court St, was cited for selling alcohol to underage people most often — four times in the last five years. Courtside declined to comment.

Bars and establishments that serve alcohol are monitored by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control. The division is responsible for controlling the manufacture, distribution, licensing, regulation and merchandising of beer, wine, mixed beverages and liquor, according to its website.

Other departments also have access to the database, such as the Department of Public Safety.

“A liquor license can be revoked on one incident, or it could not be revoked on twenty. It is depending on the history and it is depending on the severity (of the violation).”Michelle Thourot, investigative unit agent-in-charge

The Ohio Investigative Unit under the Ohio State Highway Patrol is the only law enforcement agency in Ohio that can issue a violation notice or a citation to a bar, but other departments can arrest someone in a bar, Michelle Thourot, investigative unit agent-in-charge, said.

The Department of Liquor Control does not require a minimum number of citations before shutting down a bar.

“A liquor license can be revoked on one incident, or it could not be revoked on twenty,” Thourot said. “It is depending on the history and it is depending on the severity (of the violation).”

When issuing violations, there is not a set protocol about the timing of undercover investigations, Thourot said. Investigators do not conduct yearly checks on businesses with liquor permits.

“We do respond to complaints that can be anonymous, that can come from citizens and that can come from law enforcement agencies stating that this place has a lot of underage people drinking on-premise,” Thourot said.

From 2013 to 2017, OUPD responded to a total of 445 cases involving underage drinking. 2013 had the most cases — 135, according to records from the OU Police Department. These arrests correspond to underage drinking on campus and not necessarily underage drinking at bars, since OUPD primarily patrols on campus.

Janelle Wilkins, a sophomore studying world religions, is surprised with the amount of violations at OU because it means bar owners are involved with campus drinking culture.

“I’m surprised because it’s people not involved with OU,” she said. “So, bar owners should have better standards.”

Liana Powell, a sophomore studying music therapy, said she is not surprised by the students’ actions.

“I’m surprised how bars don’t enforce it as much,” she said. “They could do better with bouncers enforcing rules. But I think every campus has this issue.”

R.I.S.E, OU’s collegiate recovery program, is a support group that is open to anyone recovering from any type of addiction or addictive behavior, Ann Addington, OU’s assistant director of health promotion, said.

“We cover a wide range of different things in the group, from seeking recovery to early recovery to long-term recovery, we have a mixture,” she said. “Our meetings are very open and we check in with each person individually during every meeting to see if anybody is struggling with anything.”

If a student is arrested due underage drinking, they are not obligated to attend the meetings, but it is encouraged.

The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility provides information about the program and may require students sanctioned for violating the student code of conduct to attend meetings.

“They can make a suggestion, but it cannot be mandated to come into our office, Addington said.

Correction: A previous version of this report and map misstated the number of violations at some bars. The article and map have been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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