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Should UIndy remain a dry campus?

Posted on 10.09.2013

From 2010 to 2012 there were eight liquor law arrests and 230 liquor law violations on the University of Indianapolis campus. Liquor law violations are defined as violations of local laws that prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase or transportation of alcoholic beverages. This includes furnishing it in an unlawful place. This does not include drunkenness and driving under the influence. A liquor law arrest simply means that that the police were involved in some way.

For being a dry campus those numbers seem awfully high, but let us compare. According to Butler University’s website, they are a wet campus. They also use the term in quotation marks. They expect their students to follow all state laws and policies, but their students are allowed to consume alcohol in their rooms, with the door closed, if they are of age. They are also allowed to drink at University-sponsored events, where alcohol is provided. Butler’s alcohol statistics include 664 liquor law violations and 41 liquor law arrests. In 2012, Butler had 222 liquor law violations.

UIndy is small and almost matches Butler in enrollment. Most people on campus are smart enough not to believe that everyone follows the rules strictly. This shows that UIndy students are responsible when they choose to drink on campus. I think we have proven ourselves responsible enough not to go wild. So this all comes to the crux of one issue:

What is the point of having a dry campus these days?

Ignoring the numbers that we see day-in and day-out about alcohol deaths in the United States and in the world would be difficult and unwise. According to an article in the Huffington Post, alcohol is the killer in four percent of the deaths worldwide. That is more than all AIDS related deaths. According to the same article an estimated 2.5 million people die every year from alcohol related deaths.

The statistics are always scary, but UIndy seems to be scared by just the idea of allowing alcohol on campus. I would love to be proven wrong, but this is what I observe of our rules on alcohol: Having a dry campus may give parents a chance to breathe easier, but it means paranoia for students. It means an eye roll and finger quotes. Students hear “dry campus,” and let their minds race to all the secret parties they can find.

Bringing a wet side to campus would take the edge off students’ wanting to be sneaky to show how silly the rules are. Students could be more open with their RAs or the administration about what safety percautions they need. As a 21-year-old student, I feel scared to go downtown and come back after two beers. I know that my RA is there for me, but what about students who are not as outgoing?

We need to eliminate the stigma connected to college drinking. Many universities are successful wet campuses. Without Greek Life here, binge drinking is less likely. If we were a wet campus then students 21 and older coming home with a designated driver who drops them off at the door of the residence hall would feel far less shameful. It would make us less spiteful towards the university’s administration and decrease the need for students to sneak backpacks with alcohol in them onto campus.

No rules will ever eliminate the risks of students who feel a need to binge drink, serve alcohol to minors and drive while intoxicated. But we can make the campus a safer place to drink. Because we are a small school we can have an effective system. We need to start the discussion about what it really means to be a wet campus and how that would work for us. I want us to be safe and have a venue to facilitate safety.

I willingly admit attending parties off campus and I have never once felt unsafe. The people that I am with take to heart every lesson that they have learned from seminars and classes. The only problem we encounter is our fear of returning back to campus.

Dry campuses have had their time and place. And a wet campus does not mean an instant transformation to a party school. It means more effective protection and education for safety. There is an effective system for every place, and UIndy is no different. I don’t want protests. I want people to really think about what it means to have a dry campus.


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