Students and staff are divided in their opinions about whether the University should revise its current “dry campus” alcohol policy and become a “wet” campus, a recent survey found.
ASULV President Nick Sloot conducted the survey to determine how students felt about a wet campus and to later present the results to the Board of Trustees.
“I didn’t want to set any goals,” Sloot said. “I just wanted to word it in a way to receive feedback. I wanted to see what students had to say.”
The current policy prohibits the possession and consumption of any alcoholic beverages on campus except in the Campus Center for students who are of legal age.
Residential students are prohibited from having full or empty alcohol containers in the resident halls and are held accountable if caught with possession.
The survey begins by asking basic information from students, including their age, gender, class standing and then asks questions about whether or not they drink alcohol.
As the survey progresses, students are asked questions such as how they feel about the current policy, if a new policy should allow students to drink in specific locations on campus and whether the current policy influences students to drink off campus.
Sloot said there was an overwhelming amount of proponents for both sides.
Those in favor of revising the current policy argue that the university should honor the law of being able to legally drink at age 21.
Residential students said they would feel more safe if they were allowed to drink on campus, because less off-campus drinking would also translate into a smaller likelihood of students driving under the influence.
“If the alcohol policy were to allow a wet campus, we would need more security and tailoring for our events,” assistant director of student life Angie Anderson said. “We would have more of a staff presence.”
Those against policy change argued that the policy has worked as it is.
“Students don’t want to have to deal with belligerent drunks or with others throwing parties,” Sloot said. “It may be an invasion of space.”
Even if it is changed to a wet campus, there still might not be any alcohol events
“I don’t see us holding any undergraduate events with alcohol,” director of student life Barbara Mulligan said. “It gives us extra costs for permits and for purchasing alcohol, and since most undergrads are under 21, it creates a liability.”
The topic of a wet campus proves to remain a debate that all students want to be a part of.
“ASULV has done surveys before, but we’ve never received more feedback,” Sloot said.
The typical number of surveys received is anywhere from 100 to 150 and as of Thursday evening 672 students had completed the alcohol survey, Sloot said.
“I don’t know how many kids look at ‘wet campus’ as a criteria for choosing a college, especially since most are undergraduates not legally allowed to drink,” Mulligan said.
“I’ve worked on wet campuses before, so I know it would be a long process before we could truly consider changing the policy,” Dean of Student Affairs Loretta Rahmani said. “But students’ voices are powerful.”
Sloot plans to go through all the responses to present the angles to the Board of Trustees before he graduates at the end of this year.
Robert Penalber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.