Students are uncertain about the new safety changes that Butler University has put into place for this school year.
“The culmination of new changes to policy, an alcohol task force, public excise police and a few high-profile cases are all coming together in a sort of perfect storm, which is causing the tension and fear in the students,” said Ben Hunter, chief of staff and executive director of public safety.
Questions around campus have been raised on the new alcohol policy and what exactly the Butler University Police Department will do differently this year.
Senior Michael Kedzie said that, as a Student Orientation Guide, there was confusion about what to tell students, and it almost appeared as a double standard.
“The ones in charge of preparing the SOGs told us to tell our students, ‘If you choose to drink, then you need to be responsible,’” Kedzie said, “but then later, we were told that, ‘The legal age is 21, and if you aren’t old enough, then it is illegal,’ so we were very confused on what exactly to tell our students.”
He said that the confusion was due to the new policies that everyone was unsure about, and he did not know what was different this year.
However, Assistant Chief of Police Bill Weber said that nothing new is happening this year.
“We are handling our job the same as always,” Weber said, “only approaching students if we have probable cause that something is wrong.”
BUPD does not have authority over the excise police that are known to be on campus now, but they maintain a working relationship.
Hunter also said that this is not the first year that the excise police have been on campus.
“Excise police for the first time is doing its job in a public spectrum through press releases, which is what makes this year different,” Hunter said.
“They have been on campus all four years that I have been in charge.”
The main change this year is the public route that the excise police are taking. In years past, they have done their work in secrecy but have now decided to make a harder push by letting students know their presence.
No matter student opinion and the police presence, the law for underage drinking will remain unchanged.
“The law is the law, and we have the duty to act upon and report illegal activity,” Hunter said, “no matter what the university’s new policy.”