From the Editor: Alcohol policy shaken, not stirred

Hollywood paints a stereotypical picture of college: constant partying and drinking — by both underage and of-age students. Not all colleges are like this; however, wild parties do happen, which is why administrators work with campus security to crack down and prevent them from happening on campus. Many students think that the administration is just trying to ruin their fun, but that’s not true. Administrators are just trying to look out for students and keep them safe, which is why they enforce alcohol policies.
This year Rider has put a new alcohol policy into effect. The new policy, which is stricter than the previous one when it comes to roommates and guests, has caused quite a stir among students. Some are angered about the new policy, while others are just confused.
The first part of the new policy states, “Rider’s alcohol policy prohibits: the consumption, possession and/or purchase of alcoholic beverages by any person under 21 years of age; being in the presence of alcoholic beverages (consumed or possessed) by any person under 21 years of age (underage individual) other than in the Rider Pub or other licensed facility or approved event.”
Now, this may seem like any other alcohol policy; it’s obvious that underage students shouldn’t be consuming or possessing alcohol. It’s the law and must be enforced on school grounds. The second part of the policy also says that any underage students and those who are of-age should not possess a collection of (three or more) shot glasses in their rooms. Once again, another understandable statement; where there’s paraphernalia there’s probably alcohol to follow. However, the third part of the new policy is what’s causing the confusion.
It states that students who are over 21 with an underage roommate can only consume alcohol when no other students are in the room besides the individuals who live in that room. The of-age students are also not allowed to have friends in their rooms if the underage roommate is present and alcohol is present.
It’s easy to understand that the school doesn’t want any underage students around alcohol, but certain aspects of this policy are a little too strict. It doesn’t make sense that an underage student can be with his or her of-age roommate if he or she is drinking, but the minute some of the roommate’s friends come over to join, it becomes a violation.
Whether there’s one person drinking or 10, the temptation for the underage student to drink is there. Therefore, the number of people in the room is not going to stop someone from drinking alcohol.
There are also some gray areas when it comes to this new policy. It clearly states that multiple of-age students cannot have alcohol if the underage roommate is present. If in this situation, what is the underage roommate supposed to do? He or she shouldn’t be forced to leave his or her own room if a roommate wants to party, and it would create an awkward living situation if the student asks his or her roommate’s friends to leave. Roommates should try to sit down and talk about how to handle the situation before it arises.
“I think it’s irritating that the new policy is so confusing,” junior secondary education major Kim Knox said. “I don’t know what I can and can’t do anymore. It was fine the way it was.”
With breaking the rules, consequences are bound to result. If this mini party is “busted” by Public Safety, everyone could get in trouble. Regardless if you’re 21, or underage and not drinking, everyone is fined and documented. However, if you live in a suite with your own room and you’re in there with the door closed while your roommates are partying it up, you can avoid getting in trouble if Public Safety comes knocking since you are not in the presence of the alcohol. On the other hand, if you’re near the alcohol and not drinking, you’re still documented. In all honesty, where is the clarity in that?
The situation should be approached differently. Public Safety should be able to administer a Breathalyzer to underage students if the students want so that they can prove they haven’t been drinking. It would reduce the number of violations and make everything a lot easier.
The new rules that were added to the alcohol policy have caused confusion for students and complicated the matter. It will also cause more of a hassle for administration because the number of appeals for alcohol violations will increase since many students are unsure about the specifics of the policy. The administration could’ve left the old policy alone. Instead, this new one has made having fun difficult and a little confusing. Most students want to follow the rules, but it’s hard to if they don’t understand them.
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.

Printed in the 9/18/13 edition.

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