Dry campus proposal loses traction
Alcohol policy was one of the many topics of discussion at the meeting of the Board of Regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee on Sept. 8, 2016. Dan White, UA vice president of Academic Affairs and Research, proposed a discussion on the possible banning of alcohol on Alaska campuses. No motion was passed following the discussion.
“This came up in a recent board meeting in Anchorage, during the public testimony,” White said. “The question as I recall … is, ‘If we have a problem with guns and alcohol in the dorms then why do we have alcohol in the dorms?’”
That question, according to White, led to a broader discussion on alcohol and its place on campuses. White said alcohol is a problem that many campuses have faced, and some have chosen to ban it as a solution.
“There is no policy change on the table, but a discussion around the potential for a policy, that might state something like ‘there is no alcohol in the dorms’ or ‘alcohol is banned in the dorms,’” White said.
This prompted further discussion from the board. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bruce Schultz, who has 25 years experience in his role at UAA, disagreed with the proposed change in policy.
“People often ask me what keeps me awake at night. There are many, many, things that keep me awake at night, in particular the safety and the welfare of our students,” Schultz said. “Alcohol use among our students is not one of those things that keeps me awake.”
The students face more challenges in terms of the mental health and emotional development, and UAA has very conservative rules when it come to alcohol abuse on campus, according to Schultz.
“Our [UAA] policies balance the rights of individuals who are of age, with the need for a responsible, quality, living, learning environment,” Schultz said.
UAA has limits on amounts of alcohol that can be possessed and consumed by one of age adult in a dorm room. Policies like these are very responsible and reasonable and should not be changed, according to Schultz.
Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at UAS, Joe Nelson, believes that a policy change of this nature would be encroaching on the personal freedoms of adult US citizens.
“That could definitely hurt our enrollment from 29 and 30 year olds, you know they’re just like any other working adult, they chose to have a glass of wine, at their choice, at their dinner table,” Nelson said. “The fundamental right of privacy, that’s the same privacy right that we’re talking about here.”
“I would echo Bruce and Joe’s analysis, and philosophical approach, very similar across all three campuses.” Mike Sfraga, vice chancellor of University and Student Advancement for UAF, said.