Safety concerns won’t guarantee alcohol amnesty
February 8, 2007
p. Despite the new College alcohol amnesty policy, underage students who have been consuming alcohol may still be subject to arrest by campus police.
p. The new alcohol amnesty policy says that students who call for help if they or someone they know has been drinking excessively or irresponsibly, will not be charged with a violation of College alcohol policy. This policy, however, does not prevent arrests or the issue of summonses by police.
p. Monday, Jan. 22, a student in Barrett Hall called police and reported that his roommate was vomiting blood and required medical assistance. Both students were eventually issued summonses for alcohol violations.
p. “Police are dealing with violations of law, not College policy,” Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler said. “No university official can tell an officer that he may or may not arrest.”
Campus police said that the police were never affected by the College’s policy change.
p. “The police have a different set of standards,” Chief of Police Donald Challis said. “However, we typically only arrest when a students behavior is incredibly bad or uncooperative.”
p. Challis explained that when the police take a report of any incident involving a student, they refer the report to the Dean of Students office. He said that most of the time, students are merely referred and not arrested.
p. “Typically, for every arrest, we make four referrals of students who could have been arrested, but weren’t,” he said.
p. Challis added that the amnesty policy has not changed much for the police force and that the policy does not require officers to act differently from how they have in the past.
p. “Typically, if a student is arrested, there is more to the story,” he said. “The student would have to be very uncooperative or we would have had to have seen them in a similar situation three or four more times.”
p. Sadler said that the amnesty policy should still encourage students to call if they or someone they know is in trouble.
p. “We want to take off the table the fear that a lot of students had if they, for example, were worried about a friend’s safety, but were also worried about whether or not they were going to get in trouble,” Sadler said.
p. He added that students should feel free to contact whoever is qualified to help when someone is in trouble.
p. “In most cases, the police don’t arrest,” Sadler said. “Typically, if someone is sick from intoxication, they’ll report it to us and we’ll just deal with it.”
p. Students who do call in under the policy will not be placed under judicial action.
“You might be referred for alcohol counseling,” Sadler said. “I hope people understand why the College would be interested in helping people to build some refusal skills and deal with issues they may have or not even know they have in a setting that doesn’t create a judicial record.”
p. Sadler said that the most severe punishment that most students would receive is a conference with the Dean of Students and participation in an alcohol educational program.
p. He added that the student alcohol task force is creating a webpage with a question and answer section that will help students better understand the policy.