Editorial: Accepting a fair alcohol policy

It is hardly uncommon to hear students on Rider’s campus complain about how the current alcohol policy is too harsh or unfair. Alcohol, they often argue, is just a part of the college experience.

To an extent, this is true. Alcohol often plays a role in college students’ lives because this is the time when we are encouraged to experiment. However, this does not mean that the University is simply going to turn a blind eye to illegal activities. It would be hard for them to do so, in light of Gary Devercelly’s death and the President’s task force.

Students should realize that the rules and regulations regarding alcohol consumption on campus could be stricter than they are. Sure, we’re not allowed to have kegs or play pong, but the restrictions didn’t have to end there. For instance, at Ramapo College there are only two residence halls on its campus where alcohol is permitted, and it is only allowed on certain floors of those residence halls. There are also plenty of schools in this country, like the University of Rhode Island, that are completely dry. When it comes to alcohol policies, Rider is fairly moderate.

Something else to consider is the central mission of this University: to educate its students and to prepare those students for life after college. The alcohol policy is meant to facilitate this mission. The alcohol policy at Rider is used to curb underage drinking, but it is also used as a mechanism to discourage alcohol abuse among all students. Dean of Students Anthony Campbell stated that the alcohol policy has identified and helped many students who may have gone on to abuse alcohol later in life and said that it was better to fix the issue now before the students go on to have careers and families.

Another common complaint among students is inconsistency among Resident Advisors (RAs). Every student hopes for the laid-back RA who will occasionally look the other way when rules are being broken, as opposed to a strict RA. Campbell stated that he and Keith Kemo, the director of the Office of Community Standards, file reports concerning the disciplinary activities that occur within residence halls each month. So, if there are unusually high or low numbers of alcohol violations (or any other violations), Campbell and Kemo investigate the issue and decide if some kind of action needs to be taken. Perhaps more oversight of RAs would be helpful, but it is good to know that the University is already keeping tabs.

The fact that each alcohol violation includes parental notification is an interesting issue to explore. Obviously, it’s a deterrent because most students’ parents would be disappointed and angry. However, the majority of the Rider population consists of legal adults. Our parents cannot be told anything about our grades, even if we are failing and even if they ask. Why should they be notified if we violate the alcohol policy? As adults, shouldn’t we be able to decide when and how to break the bad news to our parents?

To some, the alcohol policy may seem harsh, but it could be harsher. It’s important to remember that we have these rules in order to keep us safe. With that in mind, I’ll leave those students of age with something my mother taught me, “Be good and be careful. And when you can’t be good, be careful.”

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Executive Editor, Emily Landgraf.

 

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