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Residence Life Needs To Change Alcohol Sanctions

By Christopher Pace

Alcohol has been deemed a conventional party staple in college.  It helps students relax more which leads them to thrive better in social situations. But some students react differently to alcohol than others, leading to fights and arguments. Some may drink too much too fast and if they get caught sick, could be transported. Both of these situations lead to disciplinary action or sanction.

The day after the Super Bowl, my dorm had fire inspections to make sure there wasn’t anything hazardous in the rooms. I had two visible beer cans next to my desk and my RA noticed them. He told me what I needed to do, which was to take all alcoholic beverages in my room and place them in front of him so he could count how many there were.  He totaled ten and told me I would be receiving an email from my Resident Director (RD) later in the week.

I went to my meeting with the RD about a week later and talked about the situation. I was completely honest and then went on my way waiting for the email with instructions for my sanction.

I received the email shortly after and was taken aback by the amount of work I had to complete.  By Feb. 28, I had to complete Part I of the AlcoholEdu online course which all incoming students are required to take. I had to attend CHOICES, a self reflective course designed to make students aware of the risks of drinking and doing drugs on campus.  For Part II of the sanction, I had to attend a BASICS program (Brief Alcohol Screening Intervention for College Students), a two-session program where advisors review the reason why you are there. Then I had to write a two-page reflection paper, stating what I did wrong and what I learned not to do in the future.

Since I transferred here two years ago, I’ve known the consequences of bringing alcohol into the dorms on campus.  I understand what I did was against campus rules and I should be disciplined.  I knew if I were to get caught, whether 21+ or underage, there would be consequences, but my sanction is a bit much to require.  The AlcoholEdu class takes a minimum of three hours to complete, and then I had to take time out of my schedule to attend the other meetings.

The amount of work I had to do was astounding.  The AlcoholEdu program was extremely time consuming, and while I was taking it, I realized how little the program has to do with what I did.  I had empty beer cans in my room. I do not need a lecture on sexual assault, how to tell if your friend has an alcohol/drug addiction or what to do if someone has alcohol poisoning.  I’m 22 years old.  I had a few drinks during the Super Bowl; I did not get drunk, I did not vomit or cause a disturbance.

I’m a full-time student taking five courses this semester.  I have books to read and papers to write, and this sanction was too much to handle on top of my work.  I should not have to attend any classes about controlling my alcohol or making better decisions.  I come to college to learn and have fun, just like the rest.  About a month after I received the list of my sanction, I received an email stating that I was over sanctioned and I did not need to complete the CHOICES program.  This is proof that ResLife needs to change and be better organized.

So as I started the AlcoholEdu program, I opened a beer and drank a few throughout the three-hour course, and exercised my legal right to drink alcohol.  “Maybe I’ll drink before BASICS,” I thought to myself.  This just shows that even after you are of legal age to drink, you still have to follow rules that the college permits upon us.

You aren’t in college forever, so do me a favor.  Have a drink, relax and enjoy yourself. Cheers!