Each year, more than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are sexually assaulted by fellow students under the influence of alcohol. Plus, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from accidents that happen during or after the consumption of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Sexual assault, dangerous hazing practices, deaths and injuries have all resulted from irresponsible consumption of alcohol on college campuses. Recently, Dartmouth College decided to do a complete policy overhaul, which includes a ban on alcohol that is 30 proof or higher with the intent of preventing these accidents from happening, according to Dartmouth’s website.
Dartmouth is currently going through two federal investigations because of the way they handled sexual violence cases and campus crime in the past. The social scene on campus has also been criticized for over a decade, according to The Huffington Post.
If you want to improve morale on a college campus, banning hard alcohol is definitely a great place to start. Alcohol has an overwhelmingly negative effect on college campuses when it is consumed in large amounts.
College students are definitely among a group you could call experienced and frequent drinkers. Four out of every five college students will drink alcohol while attending college, and half of these students will consume it in the form of binge drinking (drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated), according to the NIAAA. Eliminating the source of these issues may very well be the answer to many problems on college campuses.
Average college students said when they are looking for something to do, they find drinking to be the cheapest, according to collegedrinkingprevention.gov. Buying beer or going to a bar that is offering a deal during happy hour like dollar beers at MacDinton’s, for example, can be very cheap and still provide the student with a massive amount of alcohol.
Dartmouth is located in a pretty secluded part of Western New Hampshire, so they have fewer options when it comes to drinking off campus, whereas students at UT can walk into Ybor and have a number of bars or clubs to choose from. Dartmouth’s secluded location will help them when it comes to carrying out this new policy.
UT’s alcohol policy can be found on the UT website and is an extensive list of policies that students are expected to follow concerning the consumption of alcohol. A rule that everyone should already be aware of is that students are prohibited from consuming alcohol if they are under the age of 21 and selling to those that are under 21 as well.
Possessing a fake id is also against school policy. Alcohol is only permitted in specific places on campus including the Rathskeller, David A. Straz Jr. Hall, Frank P. Urso Hall, ResCom, and West Kennedy Hall along with any other place on campus providing alcohol according to The University of Tampa organizational alcohol policy.
It is also important to note that the rule also states that it doesn’t matter if the alcohol is being consumed or not. No student is allowed to have a “common source container of alcohol” such as a keg in their residences whether it is empty or full, and drinking games or devices that encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol are also prohibited.
Regardless of any age, all students are prohibited from being intoxicated while on campus publicly or privately. Symptoms of intoxication would include slurred speech, nausea, loss of good judgment, and impaired motor coordination. Any disruptive behavior to the residential, campus, or Tampa community while a student is intoxicated is also a violation to the school’s alcohol policy.
The school’s policies seem pretty substantial. My only concern is that they are not being enforced very well. I know as well as any other student that underage students consume alcohol on a regular basis. That was the only thing I heard about from my fellow freshmen my first year in college. Either an older student was getting them alcohol or they were getting it with their fake ids.
In 2013, the university recorded that they gave out a total of 728 liquor law referrals which is an increase from the year 2012 when only 523 were given. I would encourage UT to look over their policies and possibly update a few of them as most colleges are in the process of doing. Not only would it improve student conduct, but student safety as well.
Along with the ban on hard alcohol, Dartmouth’s students will also be required to participate in a four-year sexual violence prevention program. I am unaware of any educational programs that UT requires students to take, but they do participate in events that raise awareness for sexual assault; one being the event called Take Back the Night.
UT is one of the 10 colleges around the country that are chosen to be an official site of 10 Points of Light to Take Back the Night. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and put an end to sexual violence. Raising awareness is important, but adding a required educational program may make more students aware and not just those that attend or participate in the events.
Other colleges like Brown University and the University of Virginia have enacted similar policies concerning the consumption of hard liquor on campus and have seen positive results, according to Tampa Bay Times.
Creating these bans along with enforcing them is the answer to seeing these horrible incidents occur less often on college campuses. I think UT would do well to follow in the steps of Dartmouth. Maybe not its exact footsteps, but having their strong desire to make changes to improve the safety of their students would be a great place to start.
Caitlin Malone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org