New alcohol policy cracks down on drinking

Monetary fines for conduct violations were implemented as part of an updated alcohol policy by the Division of Student Affairs this semester. Christopher Miller, vice president of student affairs, sent an email Tuesday notifying students of the policy change, stating that fines were enacted to reduce damage done on campus due to alcohol and drugs.

“The safety, security and well-being of all our students remains our highest priority,” Miller said in the email.

The new alcohol policy categorizes offenses by severity into four categories from least severe, A, to most severe, D.  Fines range from $50 to $750 and increase with the seriousness of the offense and the number of times a student has already violated the alcohol policy. Students will also receive a university warning, probation or suspension, depending on the offense committed.

The funds collected from the fines will be used for the university’s drug and alcohol prevention programming.

Erin Lazzar, assistant dean of students, said the purpose of the fines  is to deter high-risk alcohol use through “clearly articulated and consistently enforced policy with published sanctions that students can anticipate.”

The university has also added a complicity policy, which requires that students leave situations in which rules are being broken. Penalties for complicit students are unspecified.

When restructuring the policy, Marquette studied the successes of other universities which have used fines in their alcohol policies. Specifically, Lazzar said Marquette consulted with administrators at Boston College, Georgetown University, Loyola University at Chicago, St. Louis University, Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco.

“The new policy is only part of a continuous, comprehensive approach to addressing and responding to and preventing high-risk alcohol use,” Lazzar said. She emphasized the importance of having a uniform penalty that all students can expect.

The majority of the offenses listed in the new policy apply to those who are under 21 or live in university–owned housing, however several of the offenses are applicable to students of legal drinking age who live off-campus. The two violations that affect those over 21 are “intoxication of a person, regardless of legal drinking age” and “providing or selling alcohol to a person under 21.”

Lazzar said students who are of age and consuming alcohol are at risk of violating the policy only if their behavior puts themselves or others at risk. Students hosting an off-campus party or gathering with younger students present and consuming alcohol may be in violation of the new policy and could incur a $500 fine and probation or suspension.

Dean of Students Stephanie Quade said the new policy arose from the university’s annual revision of school policies and as a response to the feedback the administrators have received from Marquette students asking for a stricter and more consistent response to drug and alcohol use.

High-risk alcohol and drug use among Marquette students has been on the rise since 2009, according to the 2011 Campus Crime Statistics Report. There was a 7.5 percent increase in drug- or alcohol-related campus disciplinary referrals from 2009 to 2010.

Educational assignments and the course “Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students” will continue to be used by the student conduct board when applicable.

The university also updated its drug policy with a similar but stricter, three-category system. Penalties also increase with multiple offenses.

Some students believe the fines will taint the educational aspect of the process.

Anthony Fabris, a senior in the College of Business Administration, has served as a chair facilitator on the student conduct board for two years. Fabris is concerned that students will be less likely to use university resources, such as the Department of Public Safety, because of the new penalties. He also believes the new fines will both shift the environment of the student conduct board hearings from educational and rehabilitative to hostile and penalizing.

“When you put a fine (in the new policy), you completely change the educational nature of it and make it punitive,” Fabris said.