Left, a photo published by The Pointer for their April Fool’s Edition this year, in which a report jokingly suggested beer pong would become a new college sport. (thepointer.com)
By Jacob Mathias
The idea of banning alcohol in UWSP dorms was only a small idea during a recent task force meeting and unlikely to be effective, officials say.
At a recent meeting of the university- city joint AODA Task Force, local leaders said a great deal of research would be necessary prior to any such ban, and would include studies on community impact prior to being enacted.
“There is no recommendation that exists at this moment,” said Al Thompson, UWSP Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and AODA Task Force co-chairperson.
“I would only use that if the whole bottom was falling out,” said Thompson. “We are not even close to that. We’re like any college campus in this part of the country.”
Thompson added before any dry campus initiatives were considered, residential living groups and other student groups would be consulted so university leaders can gauge how the student body as a whole might react.
“I personally believe it might not make a difference,” said Thompson.
“People might then be pushed out to the neighborhoods to drink other places and just come back to the halls already drunk…and we have all kinds of problems with that.”
Law enforcement officials say they don’t think a ban would work either.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily going to help any community issues I have with people drinking,” said Steven Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder.
“That particular regulation I don’t think is going to have any impact for the better for (the police).”
Members of the Old Main Neighborhood Association (OMNA), a group already working to curb drinking- related problems in residential neighborhoods near campus also said they’re against the idea.
The group says they’re climbing an uphill battle already.
“It’s a losing battle to change the mindset about drinking, but they can work on changing the responsibility part of it,” said Cindy Nebel, co- founder of OMNA.
Nebel said creating a dry campus would only force more students into surrounding neighborhoods to party.
The only students affected by a ban would be those of legal drinking age. Students under 21 who live in any campus- owned property is already prohibited from keeping alcohol in their residence.
Thompson said the residence hall directors have not reported any drinking problems inside the dorms, alleging alcohol is consumed only by of- age students who are responsible. He added the university already has policies in place to deal with underage drinking.
Chief Ruder said it isn’t enough.
“Maybe it’s just enforcing what laws we already have on the books to keep the underage people that may be living in the residence halls from drinking to begin with.”