Dan Leitao/ The Mirror

On Oct. 20,  2009, 74 people were arrested in the raid of Bravo Restaurant. Now, the students who playfully refer to themselves as “the Bravo survivors” are being held accountable for getting caught underage drinking.

According to the Connecticut Post, 17 students were arrested last week and another 34 turned themselves in during the past week.

On the night of Oct. 20 at about 10:15 p.m., police closed off all the doors of Bravo and separated the people inside into two groups — those over 21 and those under 21. The under-21 side was an overwhelming larger group. After the police confiscated the students’ fake I.D.s and took their information, they told the students they could go home.

“[The police] said that nothing was really going to happen because of the number of underage kids,” said a freshmen involved who wished to remain anonymous. “They just told us you would hear from the school and that was about it.”

Although the police were responsible for detecting these underage drinkers, the University responded with disciplinary actions long before the law did. Students received letters in their mailboxes on Nov. 20 instructing them to meet with Dean Pellegrino.

Students who were first-time offenders were required to do at least five hours of community service and pay a $50 fine. For second time offenders, it was a $75 fine. Students had the option to pay these fines through the University’s Toys for Tots program.

In the Dean’s meetings with students, Pellegrino said he tried to get to the root of why so many underclassmen were at Bravo on the fateful Tuesday night.
The Dean found it was more than students just wanting to drink.

“Some students I spoke to were interested in getting together to dance, others want to hang out with friends. Some were bored, and others simply wanted to get off campus for a while,” said Pellegrino.

“I think we have to try to understand more than just the ‘legal’ part of what happened here in order to mitigate against future occurrences,” he continued.

In terms of the ‘legal” aspect, those caught at Bravo didn’t hear from the Fairfield police until the week of Dec. 14 when they were sent warrants for their arrest.

Most of the students have been given two options once they report to the station:

  1. Take advanced rehab with six months of probation and once that six months is over, all charges will be dropped off their record, or
  2. They are charged with a criminal infraction, have to pay a $90 fine and lose their license for 30 days, after which the incident will be struck from the record.

The same anonymous source was grateful that he was only charged with underage drinking and not possession of a fake I.D., but he still felt he was misinformed.

“They made it seem as if it was not a big deal at the time of the raid and then months later we get a warrant for our arrest,” he said.

The Connecticut Post reported on Tuesday that Bravo will close on Saturday. Sources tell the Post that it will reopen as a restaurant owned by Leo Redgate, who owns the nonprofit of the Community Theater in Fairfield.

The Fairfield Police Department could not be reached by press time.

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