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Miami University deploys ‘mystery shoppers' to catch bars serving underage

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Posted at 1:14 PM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 13:15:20-04

OXFORD, Ohio -- Miami University is making sure Oxford bars are abiding by laws concerning underage drinking, The Journal-News reported. 

Part of that plan includes sending underage patrons into bars, according to Dr. Mike Curme, associate vice president and dean of students at Miami.

“We have had two rounds of mystery shopper (visits) on weekends we select, and of the 50 permit holders checked, 49 passed,” he said.

The test involves not only preventing underage patrons from entering, but also dealing with intoxicated drinkers. Some mystery shopped have faked drunkenness to see how employees deal with it, according to Curme.

“It’s an important step in cutting off intoxicated patrons,” he said.

Miami University freshman Erica Buschick, 18, died of alcohol poisoning on Jan. 20

About a month later, 21 Miami students were hospitalized for alcohol, police said, and one sergeant said he has never seen the drinking problem at Miami University so bad. 

IN DEPTH: Miami University considering new ideas to curb alcohol abuse

The university also tests for fake IDs. Curme said studies have shown more than 80 percent of students, nationally, possess fake IDs.

There is now a computer program that determine if IDs are genuine, he said

The issue of fake IDs has another ramification for Miami students.

“Fake IDs are a ‘dishonesty’ and two dishonesties, you’re suspended,” he said. “That gets students’ attention.”

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO.com.