Alcohol policy changes considered by task force

The alcohol task force is discussing possible changes to Butler University’s current alcohol policy.

The current alcohol policy was created in 2002. Irene Stevens, dean of student life, said, since then, the number of hospitalizations due to alcohol, arrests, sexual assaults and summons tickets have increased dramatically.

This school year, seven student arrests have been made. This time last year, only five arrests were made.

Summons tickets are new to Butler, and 34 tickets have been given out this school year between excise police and Butler University Police Department.

“Student affairs and the alcohol task force are concerned with the increases in these areas,” Stevens said. “That’s what has prompted us to change the policy.”

Stevens said the task force’s job is to analyze the culture of campus and decide if the current policy is effective or needs revision.

“The whole purpose of the task force is to look at how we can best encourage students how to be responsible and make good decisions,” Stevens said.

The alcohol task force is comprised of faculty and students, both Greek and independent. The task force itself is divided into two different committees—policy enforcement and education.

Junior Craig Fisher said his role as a Student Government Association representative on the alcohol task force helps give more student perspectives when dealing with possible policy changes.

“My main goal as an SGA representative on the task force is to make sure that student interests are well-represented,” Fisher said. “That’s the goal of all of the students on the task force.”

Fisher said he and the rest of the members of the task force began discussing possible changes to the current alcohol policy over the summer.

“The changes are in response to an increase in statistics of high-risk drinking and alcohol-related incidents.” Fisher said. “We decided that the policy definitely needed to be explored more.”

Fisher and Stevens both said clarity is a major goal for the new policy.

“Right now, I think the alcohol policy on campus is unclear,” Fisher said. “A clearer message is definitely something we want to work towards.”

Stevens said student affairs and the alcohol task force plan on holding many informational sessions with students after the policy is changed.

“We’ll hold meetings with students, forums, and go to SGA,” Stevens said. “We’ll also promote the new policy so that students will have a very good understanding on what exactly the rules are on campus.”

Sophomore Jeff Petty said he thinks increased clarity in the campus alcohol policy would be beneficial to students.

“I would really like to see more consistency with punishments,” Petty said. “It would be great if we students could be made more aware as to what exactly is and isn’t allowed and what will be punished.”

Junior Vinnie Taibi said the presence of excise police especially has created confusion with the drinking policy on campus.

“Right now, people don’t really seem to understand what’s going on as far as excise and punishments are concerned,” Taibi said. “I wish that the school could explain completely and concisely what exactly is going on.”

Stevens said student concerns will be taken into account during the discussion period of policy changes and that students will be asked to contribute their opinions in forums.

The task force plans to have a proposal to the administration ready by January.

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