Murray State’s alcohol use is moving off the streets and into the residential colleges.
Eleven alcohol-related reports, resulting in seven arrests, have been recorded by Public Safety this month.
This fact remains despite the University’s zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and alcohol not being permitted on campus.
“I think the policy is pretty clear,” Don Robertson, vice president for student affairs, said. “Don’t let alcohol get in the way of your success at the University. If you are of age, drink responsibly; policies and procedures will be enforced.”
Robertson said he does not want students to fall short of their goals because of alcohol.
According to Public Safety there have been 27 cases of alcohol incidents from January 2011 to September 2011. In 2010, only 33 cases were reported.
“The number of alcohol-related incidents is up a little from last year,” Chris Hodes, assistant director for resident services, said. “The freshman class is bigger and with 175 to 200 more students on campus, you’re going to have more problems.”
Hailey Buth, junior from Louisville, Ky., is a resident adviser in Regents College. She said if someone is caught with alcohol in the housing complexes they are written up without a warning. They then meet with the resident director of their college and are assigned five hours of community service.
After the first offense, the number of hours of community service increases and privileges are lost. After three write ups, the student can be expelled from the residential colleges.
“People see drinking as the only way to have fun in the dorms,” Buth said. “They don’t realize that they are putting themselves as well as others in danger.”
Robertson said the alcohol incidents seem to be more of a problem with freshmen.
Judy Lyle, health educator, said abusing alcohol affects brain development, which continues until a person is 26 or 27.
“Alcohol is a depressant,” Lyle said. “It slows your cardiac functions and respiratory system down.”
Lyle said mental confusion, vomiting, seizures and slow breathing are all signs of alcohol poisoning.
“The Murray State Police rely a great deal upon the housing staff for assistance in the residential colleges, as they are adept at dealing with alcohol and other issues,” David DeVoss, director for Public Safety, said via email. “Students should work closely with and cooperate completely with housing staff members.”
President Randy Dunn stressed the many programs Murray State has to educate students on the importance of responsible drinking.
“I hope that in all of the outreach activities and services that we have available we are getting the point made with our students that this is an individual responsibility that you have to take on as you enter adulthood,” he said. “I’m very supportive of the education programs because this is an adjunct learning that students have to figure out during these years when they’re in college or it’s going to make for a difficult life until they do figure it out and hit rock bottom on it.”