The goal of Butler University’s “Let Us Be Clear” campaign is to inform students the legal age to possess and consume alcohol is 21, but students under 21 who consume can call Butler University Police Department for emergency assistance.
Freshman Abbigail Peters said she believes posters around campus are sending mixed messages about the university’s stance on drinking. However, she appreciates the information about student safety.
“The university is sending mixed messages by informing us it is illegal, but teaching us the necessary precautions in case something were to go wrong,” Peters said. “As an 18-year-old, my decision making isn’t going to be influenced by a poster I see in my residence hall. People under the age of 21 drink in college, so it’s nice to see there is help in case you decide to drink and something goes wrong.”
By introducing the “Let Us Be Clear” campaign, Butler reminds students it is against the law for students under 21 to possess and consume alcohol, or provide it to underage students. The campaign encourages students to not be afraid of facing punishment but to seek help when needed.
“Let us be clear is just the slogan on the poster. It is not the policy,” said Sally Click, dean of student services.
“The law is the law and I don’t buy it that students say they are unfamiliar with it,” said Andrew Ryan, assistant police chief. “You are young adults. You can make your own decisions on whether you chose to follow the law or not.”
“The ‘Let Us Be Clear’ poster was developed as a result of an education group,” Ryan said. “Its purpose is to make sure people understood, yes, the law is that you must be 21, but should you be in an emergency situation, we want to help.”
Violating the law will result in consequences decided through the university’s student handbook as well as possible criminal prosecution.
The Indiana Lifeline Law provides immunity for some alcohol-related offenses, subject to certain conditions, to students who request medical assistance for someone in need.
According to the law, a person may receive immunity if he or she demonstrates he or she acting in good faith by providing their full name and other relevant information requested by law enforcement, remaining on the scene until law enforcement arrives and cooperating with authorities on the scene.
“The poster isn’t promoting responsible drinking,” senior Blake Peterson said. “That’s like saying that a university endorses sex because it teaches students safe sex instead of abstinence.”
Click began work with the alcohol task force a year ago on the alcohol policy. It worked with student feedback to make the policy more concise and accessible to students.
“Our policy parallels state laws, and we expect students to follow the law. But we also have this secondary thing we want people to know, and it is that is we really care about students getting assistance,” Click said. “We don’t want everyone afraid of getting in trouble. Let us be clear this is the policy, let us be clear we want you to seek help.”