Students react to required training penalties

2-28-17 Haven1

All incoming freshmen, new students and new employees are required to take the Haven/AlcoholEdu online training within their first semester or a registration hold will be placed on their account. Erin Granger/ Sun Star Photo credit: Erin Granger

Starting fall semester 2017, failure to complete the required Haven/AlcoholEdu training courses will result in a registration hold instead of the previously-mandated $150 fee. The change, which was requested by ASUAF and implemented by university administration, has been met with mixed responses from students.

The fee, which took effect with the training courses in fall of last year, seemed lax to ASUAF President Colby Freel.

“The fee meant that the training is not truly mandatory because you [can] still register for classes and be part of our community and not take it,” Freel said. “The registration hold makes the training mandatory, which is what we want.”

However, the switch to a registration hold for students who do not complete the training seems like a step too far for some students.

“I don’t agree with it,” Khan Overcast, a physics student, said. “Primarily because it operates under the assumption that people aren’t responsible with their alcohol. People that abuse should be the ones who take the class.”

Chrstina Drumhiller, a student in metalsmithing, says it’s not really the university’s place.

“It’s like one of those over reaching Res Life policies where they’re trying to baby sit adults,” Drumhiller said. “I know it’s a problem up here but it’s not their job in my opinion.”

Drumhiller felt that more emphasis should put on the law enforcement side of the issue. The switch from a $150 fee to a registration hold seemed wrong, she said.

“That’s kind of a counter intuitive move as far as upping enrollment,” Drumhiller said. “I mean, I didn’t hear about it for a while so if it’s that steep of a punishment, they need to raise awareness of the policy.”

Some students expressed approval for the change.

“It is not difficult to complete the online course,” said Brandon Blum, a political science student who has completed the training.

Blum agreed with Freel that placing a substantial fee as an incentive to complete the program was too punishing on already financially burdened individuals.

“The new direction will be effective at accomplishing the educational goal with the proper incentive structure for freshmen,” Blum said.

While some are concerned the registration hold may drop enrollment numbers, Freel says that argument doesn’t hold water.

“We have other things that we have to complete before we register for classes,” Freel said. “We all have to go see an adviser, you could make the same argument that seeing an adviser is an extra step before registering for classes.”

Blum shared these sentiments, emphasizing that the training doesn’t take that long.

“There’s a myriad of ways that the University puts holds on a student’s ability to register that are often obtuse and difficult to sort out,” Blum said. “This program takes no more than 90…minutes to complete. I don’t believe it will stop people’s pursuing of higher education.”

Before the original $150 fee incentive was settled on, the committee organized to implement this training was contemplating a $300 fee, Freel said.

“$300 is the cap at which a registration hold is triggered,” Freel said. “So they wanted a registration hold in addition to the $300.”

If a student did not take the training two semesters in a row, accruing two separate $150 fees, a registration hold would have been implemented anyway, Freel explained.

Freel’s biggest concern was that the fee intensive placed a bigger burden on less affluent students than it did on others.

“So, where a student with access to financial resources could easily choose not to take the training and suffer the $150 fee, poorer students, for lack of a better term, wouldn’t,” Freel said. “We’re kind of oppressing that demographic people because they’re less affluent. It’s a more significant burden on them which isn’t fair.”

People don’t like abrupt change, Freel said.

“People get very used to the status quo and so when they changes it seems very alarming,” Freel said. “This idea that adding more steps before registering for classes is unheard of, is faulty. we have so many other things we have to do before registering for classes so this is just one other piece.”

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