Alcohol violations go down the drain


From 2014 to 2016 campus liquor law violations have decreased by a margin of almost 90 incidents, according to Augustana’s annual Clery report.  With this significant reduction of alcohol-related violations comes the question of what this trend says about the student body and the possible change in attitude among younger generations towards alcohol. image3

Augustana University operates under a ‘dry campus’ policy, meaning that anyone who possesses alcohol on campus is in violation of the student code of conduct. While campus safety may not write up students older than 21 for a criminal citation for possession of alcohol on campus, the students can still be subject to judicial action. 

One possible explanation for the decrease in violations is the continued presence of alcohol awareness education on campus. 

“Our approach is a comprehensive one that does not lean on one factor,” Dean of Students Jim Bies said. “I do not believe there is one ‘silver bullet’ that is, by itself, a solution.”

Augustana’s alcohol awareness and education program includes an emphasis on student safety, late night programming, bystander training and the Step Up program, Alcohol Edu, consistent policy enforcement and TIPS training.

“Our current policies and procedures are certainly effective in mitigating the effects of alcohol-related decision making that our students are involved in,” Bies said. “However, we are seeing an increase in the number of students who do not use alcohol at all or choose to use very little.”

A change in the younger generations’ attitude towards alcohol consumption could also explain not only the decrease in alcohol violations on campus, but also statistics showing a decrease in drinking on campuses nationwide. 

“It would not surprise me that less students are drinking because I think more students are seeing that they can hang out without having to drink alcohol,” freshman Teague Schultz said. “It is definitely true that you do not need alcohol to have fun and I think more students are realizing this.”

While a decrease in alcohol violations is a positive trend for the student body, another less positive trend has sparked up. 

“What we have seen is that in the last couple of years alcohol issues have dropped in number, but unfortunately the severity of them has gone up,” Director of Campus Safety Rick Tupper said. “We definitely want to see fewer people drinking but the ones that really scare me are the ones who are drinking so much that their bodies are shutting down.”

Tupper also said he is concerned that many students are not aware of the medical amnesty policy which Augustana upholds. This policy protects students against judicial action if they seek help on behalf of a friend who is in need of medical attention. 

“I do not think a lot of students know that because I did not,” junior viking advisor Brooke DeVos said. She is a member of the Drug and Alcohol Committee on campus, which seeks to promote responsible alcohol consumption. “I feel like that should be more widespread and something we work on as a committee.”

Awareness of the medical amnesty policy could help prevent these severe cases from becoming worse and encourage students to put their health and the health of fellow students above fear of punishment, Tupper said. 

However, despite a decrease in the number of alcohol violations on campus, the number of liquor law arrests on campus has increased over the last two years.

“Student choices in relation to drinking continues to be a serious problem,” Bies said. 

Resolving the issue of alcohol related incidents remains a high priority for administration and campus safety, Bies said. 

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