Dorm alcohol policy flaunts wise changes

Due to increased drug use nationwide and a heightened public awareness of alcohol abuse on college campuses, a number of positive changes have been made to the University residence halls’ alcohol policies. In previous years, vaguely worded policies and generally lax handling of alcohol and controlled substances in the dormitories have led to conflicts between staff and residents. This has given the campus a reputation of light punishments for those who violate these policies. These changes are a step in the right direction on the part of the University.
Three changes involve responsible consumption of alcohol by people 21 or older. First, a student of legal drinking age may be punished for excessive consumption in the residence halls. Second, all residents of a room must be at least 21 in order for anyone to drink there. For example, if an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old are living together, the 21-year-old could not drink in the room. Moreover, any residents in possession of an open alcohol container will be considered to be drinking. This policy change was made due to the number of students who claim to be “holding the drink for a friend.”
The next three policies are all aimed at altering the living environment in the residence halls. In previous years, 21-year-old residents were permitted to use one lounge for drinking. The new policy prohibits alcohol in any public areas. Also, kegs, party balls and boxes of wine are no longer permitted in the residences halls, hopefully cutting down on individual consumption of large amounts of alcohol. The third change is also the most subtle, forbidding the collection of alcohol containers in dormitory rooms.
In addition to the stricter alcohol policy, the University has implemented a zero-tolerance rule regarding controlled substances. People found with tangible evidence of drug use will most likely have the residence hall contracts terminated. Illegal drugs have a history of leading to dangerous behavior that negatively affects the person using the drugs and others nearby. Along with creating a less alcohol- and controlled-substance-friendly atmosphere, these changes enable residence hall advisors and night managers to handle conflicts more easily.
Although these changes might not be favored by all students, the committee established by University President Mark Yudof that devised these rules should be commended for successfully addressing an issue with which campuses around the nation are dealing. These regulations demonstrate that University administrators are genuinely concerned about the well-being of all students and the academic community. By offering an environment that presents alternatives to alcohol and illegal drug consumption for entertainment, the University will reduce pressure on new students to turn to these illegal activities.
As a large university, the University will be a model for smaller schools. Any success the new residence hall policies experience will illustrate to other campus communities around the country that it is possible to have an environment in which students are less likely to become involved in the drinking scene. Now that the University has taken positive steps, so long as they enforce these policies, residence halls will be a much better place for everyone to live.