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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

An increase in alcohol violations?

An increase in alcohol violations?

By: Addie Lawrence, Editor

Over the course of the 2015 fall semester, alcohol violations compared to the same time span in the 2014 fall semester have doubled from 15 violations to 30. Additionally, five drug violations have been filed in 2015 compared with two drug violations filed in 2014.

Between Aug. 28 and 29, the weekend before the start of classes on campus, 18 counts of underage possession of alcohol were filed according to the Campus Safety Crime Reports for 2015. Since, 12 alcohol related violations have been filed over the month of September. Data for subsequent months was not available on the online reports.

In comparison, 10 alcohol related violations were filed in the September of 2014, with 5 violations filed during the weekend before classes began.

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“Whether or not we like it, the law says 21,” says President Nayef Samhat. “That doesn’t mean young people aren’t consuming alcohol, but an institution that knowingly ignores the law, and if there’s an accident or an incident as a result of that, creates a very difficult situation for the institution.”

“I happen to think that the drinking age of 21 is problematic.” Samhat says. “There are a lot of things that young people are charged with as responsible adults at 18. I think we have to encourage responsible consumption of alcohol and recognize that if you’re expecting young people to behave like adults at 18 in certain areas, they should behave like adults at 18 in other areas too.”

When asked if he would support a lower drinking age, Samhat responded: “I would not be adverse to that.”

Campus Safety Officer Dwayne Harris was quoted in a previous Old Gold and Black article by Katie Sanders, staff writer. Harris claims that overt use of alcohol or consumption in dry dorms is the reason that these alcohol violations are given.

“I can sit here and say ‘don’t drink,’ but college kids are going to drink,” Harris says. “All we ask is that they are more responsible about it. If you’re going to drink, don’t have a party in a dry dorm. That’s stupid. We should call them stupid violations instead of alcohol violations.”

According to Samhat, adding beer and wine options to the Galleria was an attempt to promote responsible drinking and curb excessive alcohol consumption. When asked if the lack of a Greek Row contributes to overt drinking, Samhat responded that the College wouldn’t know for certain until the new Greek Village opens.

“It might be that once the houses are open, we’ll find a different pattern and it’s easier to control or manage,” Samhat says.

“When you force it underground and criminalize it, you do not foster responsibility, and I find that problematic. Our job as educators both in the academic realm and in the student life realm is to nurture in young people who come here and guide them in their four years, the process of maturation and responsibility for all that life holds,” Samhat says. “For those who enjoy a drink or a glass of wine…that’s simply part of the process of maturing.”

Taken from the Campus Safety Crime Reports, this graph shows data from Aug. 28 to Sept. 29 in 2015. 62 percent of the reports are alcohol or drug related.
Taken from the Campus Safety Crime Reports, this graph shows data from Aug. 28 to Sept. 29 in 2015. 62 percent of the reports are alcohol or drug related.

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