Enforcing Campus Alcohol Policy

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As I sat in my oh-so comfortable chair at the McLean Hall front desk last Saturday, I held a copy of Hilltopics in one hand and scratched my head with the other. You see, as a Resident Assistant it is not only my job to program and connect with students in my hall, but it is also my job to enforce the policies set forth by my bosses in Housing and Residence Life as well as the upper administration of this university. I am writing, I confess, because I no longer know how to do my job. I still enjoy my job and the connections that it gives me, but alas, I can no longer discern which policies are worth enforcing and which don’t really mean a thing.

I have spent my time and effort enforcing a zero tolerance alcohol policy on Western’s campus. It is a policy that has called me from a blissful slumber more than once, it has interrupted my studies, and has forced me to repeat to my girlfriend on numerous occasions, “baby, I have to go, it’s my job.” It has forced me to be a jerk and, believe it or not, made me more than a few enemies.

I am therefore writing for clarification on the “zero tolerance” alcohol policy on campus. In the student handbook it clearly states that alcohol is not allowed on campus. This policy was clearly tossed aside in lieu of the football game, as many tailgaters found their way to McLean’s front lawn and lobby, open containers well in hand. I made no enemies of these people because I was advised to let it slide, thereby doing something that would probably cost me my job on any other day of the week. It is in the spirit of keeping my job that I ask for clarity. Obviously the policy is ignored when the pigskin begins to fly, so then is the policy also suspended for flag football games? Or does the policy change just for campus-wide programs? I’m sure Topper Talk Live and Shantytown would also benefit from this laissez-faire policy – both the attendance and enjoyment at said programs would surely increase. I might finally get one hundred percent attendance at a floor meeting if I start mixing drinks.

Is it ever ok then to light a candle in the residence halls? Have a gun? Smoke crack? Just because Friends is on is that permission to light up a blunt? If the alcohol policy is suspended four hours prior to kick off, exactly when does it kick back in?

I have been told in the past that my position qualifies me as a university official and thus, responsible for its policies twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I don’t care which way the policy goes, be it allowing alcohol completely or banning it all together, but the situational ethics of this university make the policy difficult to understand and thus difficult to enforce.

It is ultimately irrelevant which policy is chosen, just quit asking me to enforce a policy that is only in effect when the university isn’t profiting off of it. I’m not preaching to ban alcohol or allow it, I’m simply asking university officials to quit wasting my time.

-Jason Brown

McLean Hall Resident Assistant

Louisville Junior