By Jeniel Terrero
There is often a preconceived notion that college life is filled with an abundance of alcohol and parties. Due to this notion, many students anticipate turning 21, where the restrictions to alcohol no longer exist. As a junior, this is my first year where I felt that I can possess alcohol freely, without having to worry about breaking any student conduct rules.
Yet, as I walked into my dorm hall carrying my own supply of alcohol, a residence assistant stopped me. I wasn’t surprised when I was asked for ID. However, I was taken by surprise when two of my friends, who had accompanied me, were also asked for ID. Although they were also both of age, and the alcohol was going to be taken to my room, I was told by this RA that if I brought in two guests who were not of age, I would have received a dorm violation written warning. After this experience, I was prompted to look at the university’s student handbook to find out the exact rules regarding alcohol on campus.
After reviewing all the guidelines, I realized how many restrictions students still have to meet, despite being of age on what the university calls a “wet campus.” According to the student handbook, consuming alcoholic beverages is not allowed on campus property, except in areas or functions approved by the dean of students or her designee, which includes residence hall rooms of students over the age of 21. In other words, students of age are only allowed to drink in their own dorm rooms, or designated areas approved first by the dean.
It also states that students under the age of 21 are not allowed to be in an environment with alcohol. The handbook says that parties in which alcohol is served will not be permitted anywhere on campus, unless the dean approves of it. If students plan a party at a residence hall room or lounge, it needs to be registered, which means that the student hosting the event needs to alert a campus life coordinator before going forward with their plans. If any attendee is under 21 at these particular parties, alcohol cannot be permitted.
Due to these strong alcohol regulations, other students have agreed that despite alcohol being permitted on campus, the university feels more like a dry campus than a wet one. Senior Accounting major Vincent Tavernese believes that the school should loosen some of their drinking restrictions. Tavernese, who happens to be of drinking age, mentions that he has gotten written up while drinking and being in the company of others who were under the age of 21.
“Because I am of age, if I am having a drink with someone who is not of age, I should not be held responsible for their actions, especially when I am not the one supplying them with alcohol,” Tavernese said. Apart from the write up, he was also required to take an alcohol education class, which is a course that educates students on substance abuse.
“I think that it is absolutely absurd that I was penalized for drinking when this is a wet campus and I am of legal drinking age,” Tavernese said. “The rules are way too strict. I understand why the rules are created in the first place, but the school focuses too much on making them and not enough on making it fair enough for everyone.”
Junior Math major Natalie Post also believes the university should be more lenient in terms of regulations for where alcohol consumption takes place. Post, who will be turning 21 in a few days, argues that the school will create a safer community if students of age had a place on campus where they can drink openly, instead of looking for that environment outside of school perimeters. As a commuter, she states that having a place to enjoy some drinks on campus after class seems beneficial, especially in a place like the student lounge.
“I studied abroad in London last semester and the school I stayed at had an on campus bar [that] everyone enjoyed,” Post said. “I just feel that if the student bar served alcohol, it may draw in a larger crowd. Also, I know that LIU had a student bar on campus many years ago, and a large portion of students at Post are over the age of 21, so that option should still be allowed.”
Although the university continues to be a wet campus, due to the many restrictions students will feel obligated to find fun elsewhere. In doing so, this causes a problem with keeping students safe, while the university gains a negative reputation amongst students.
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