Safety requires reflection on UD policy

By: Stephen Harvey – Sophomore, Management Information Systems

The line between a good time and a night at Miami Valley Hospital is thinner than most students think.

We’ve all been there: when a good time turns into a dangerous situation, and we find one of our friends in need of help. The urge to take them home and put them to bed often supersedes a real requirement for safety. The type of care that may be provided by public safety, or UD Rescue Squad, is often left to a “friend” who is often also inebriated to a certain degree.

I am not one to berate individuals about the legality or policy of alcohol consumption; however, I believe it is imperative we all take measures to understand this policy in order to keep each other, and ourselves, safe in the variety of situations that may arise while out in the student neighborhood.

Because of this belief, I will review the simple policy that governs every student at the University of Dayton and describe many of the ways in which we, as students, need this policy and how, although often controversial, our following of it leads to a stronger community.

The alcohol policy at the University of Dayton clearly states, in the form of a very long list, all of the activities considered violations, from underage drinking, probably the most common, to drinking games, which are another staple in the student neighborhood. These policies are all meant to protect the students here at the University of Dayton, as well as to help foster a stronger community. In essence, the rules are here to protect students, not hinder them.

I believe a response is necessary to the assertion by many students that these rules often restrict an individual’s ability to build community and be socially active, which is false. The University of Dayton, as many students are aware, is a diverse campus—and with over 200 student organizations, it is certainly not lacking in opportunities to be active. Many of these organizations, and the opportunities they provide, build community without the use of alcohol. In fact, the use of alcohol by any organization is not allowed. Thus, getting involved on campus and becoming part of an organization will mitigate the supposed loss of social interaction caused by following the alcohol policy.

Finally, I would like to focus on one of the often overlooked items within the university’s alcohol policy, mitigating circumstance. This policy, attached to the alcohol policy, is meant to alleviate some of the fear an individual might have about requesting help for a friend. The basic understanding of the policy is that if you call public safety, or any other police or medical authority (excluding RAs), for help regarding a friend’s health, then you will not be charged with any policy violation. Caveats to this rule do exist and it is mainly applied to offenses of alcohol use, not drug use or any other violations.

Being the one to call public safety or an RA may not be the popular choice when you find yourself in a risky situation. However, it is often necessary to protect a friend, or even a stranger, and is the responsibility of every student here in our community to do so.

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