South Hall should be wet

Dry campus policy is outdated, fails students
By Justin Buchanan, ‘12
Pacific Lutheran’s South Hall should allow residents 21 and older to get their feet wet – allowing them to possess and consume alcohol if they desire.

As last year’s Community Assistant with Administrative Duties in South Hall, I’ve personally seen the shortcomings of an outdated dry campus policy.

By allowing alcohol in South Hall, PLU would keep their students safer.  Instead of having students traveling off campus to consume alcohol, students could stay within the safety of their own apartment.

PLU’s Annual Safety Report reported that 93 percent of crimes against students happen off campus. If alcohol were allowed in South, the numbers of crimes would drop as student could stay on campus and drink responsibly.

Additionally, the risk off students driving under the influence would decrease significantly. The yearly report also detailed that “in 2006, there were 17,602 alcohol-related crash fatalities.” The fewer reasons students have to drive drunk, the better it is for everyone on the roads.

Statistics cited in the Pacific Lutheran University Annuel Safety Report. Statistics used are highlighted.

Having alcohol in South does not mean reckless parties and noise will increase. I’ve been to plenty of places that allow alcohol, but are not about partying.  Alcohol doesn’t automatically create noise.

I addressed more noise complaints of Mountain Dew-fueled gamers when Call of Duty: Black Ops was released last year than I did all year for students consuming alcohol in South Hall.

Residential Life’s job shouldn’t be to prevent the consumption of alcohol, but instead to educate residents of its proper use.

By allowing alcohol in South Hall, this models and teaches students to respect alcohol and the responsibilities that come with it.

Should a student make a mistake while drinking, I’d much rather see them go through PLU’s Student Conduct system than face criminal charges that could follow them for the rest of their life.

With this outdated alcohol policy currently in place, PLU doesn’t provide an educational apartment style living situation. In traditional places of residence, those of legal age are allowed to possess alcohol. If PLU is preparing their students for the real world, alcohol should be allowed to be present because it can be present anywhere else.

This policy also hampers Residential Life’s Community Assistant staff. Instead of serving as resources for students, CAs act as rule enforcers.

I was told numerous times by residents they didn’t feel comfortable sharing with me what they did over the weekend. Often after a short questioning period, they finally admitted they were off campus at a party or bar. When I asked them why they wouldn’t tell me first off, they admitted they thought I could get them in trouble.

As a CAAD it was my goal to become a resource for residents.  It was not my job to get them in trouble.  The no alcohol policy convoluted my role, thus obstructing me from doing my job effectively.

I decided to move off campus this year because I was wary of Residential Life’s big brother-like eyes.

By removing the alcohol policy, more students would want to live in South Hall. As of Oct. 31, Residential Life has four apartments listed looking for an extra roommate and other empty apartments open as well.

It costs students about $6,000 each to live in South Hall for a year.  It only costs me about $4,000 collectively in rent, utilities, cable and high speed Internet to live off-campus for the year.  With these prices and outdated policies, South Hall doesn’t entice students to live on campus. I know many of my friends have moved off campus simply because they can possess alcohol and not worry about encountering the Student Conduct system.

Students who are at least 21 years old should be allowed to possess alcohol in South Hall.  Should someone prove they cannot handle the responsibility, they should have their privileges revoked, and face the consequences of their actions according to PLU’s Student Conduct policies.  Additionally, if someone under the age of 21 gets caught with alcohol in South Hall, they should go through the Student Conduct system.

Other ELCA colleges such as Augsburg College and Luther College allow alcohol on campus to those that are of age.  PLU should not lag behind.

PLU already allows alcohol in the alumni house, facility house and inside Resident Director apartments. Garfield 208 sells alcohol and is owned and operated by PLU’s Dining and Culinary Services.  It’s ridiculous that South Hall is not continuing the trend.

What do YOU think?

Categories: Other

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