Alcohol violations up from previous year; program started to increase safety

The number of alcohol violations in residence halls were above average during the 2010-11 school year at 503 total.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities recorded the number of alcohol policy violations last year, a difference of nine violations above the yearly average of 494.

Ben Witt, student behavioral administrator, said he expected the numbers to rise slightly to meet the average, since the 2007 through 2009 numbers had been lower than average. The tally includes off-campus sites, but the main bulk of it comes from on campus, particularly residence halls, he said.

"During the year, you're going to have key weekends like tailgating, or when it was really nice out on St. Patrick's Day," Witt said. "Plus, I believe we had a record freshman class, so a lot of students (were) involved in it."

Taylor Bandemer of Walled Lake was one of those freshmen. His first violations were within a week of each other. One Friday he was caught drinking with 20 people in his room. The next Friday he was written up for the same violation, this time with 10 people. He paid $500 in fines.

After his third violation for alcohol in the residence halls, he was put on academic probation for a year.

"I can't come back until this December," Bandemer said. "But I don't know if I need to anymore because I think I have a job lined up for six figures and I don't need a four-year college degree."

Bandemer said he has no opinions against drinking in the residence halls, but advises students to be more careful.

Everyone at Central Michigan University drinks, he said, but it should be done responsibly.

Livonia sophomore Kyle Gortat said he also learned from alcohol violations. He received two from his Resident Assistant, and said it kept him from drinking in the residence halls again.

"Not only will you have to pay a pretty large fine, but you are pretty much under radar for the rest of the year," he said. "I felt very uncomfortable drinking in the dorms after that and learned my lesson."

According to the statistics, alcohol violations are higher than any other conduct code at CMU by hundreds.

The number includes all violations listed under the Alcohol and Controlled Substance Policy. Witt attributes the number to a combination of factors.

St. Johns graduate student Nicole Percival is trying to teach students that very lesson. She is heading up, "Stand up. Stand out. Take Care," an initiative on campus she hopes teaches students to drink responsibly. They received a $15,000 grant from the state's prevention network. They will be hosting B.L.I.N.G., Brief Live Interactive Normative Groups, which will discuss with students how to look out for each other when drinking.

"I want students to feel that they can come back to the halls if they need to," she said. "They're not necessarily going to get in trouble, but that they're saving someone's life."

The number of violations in residence halls sharply dropped in 2004 from 232 to 44 and have stayed under 50 since. Witt said this was because of a policy change. Prior to the change alcohol violations were submitted twice as residence and student life violations.

"The main reason is due to a revision of the student code that changed alcohol violations from being both a violation of alcohol rules and a violation of residence hall rules," he said. "Procedurally you had to double dip. Why make it two code violations, when you could just give one"


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