By Jalyn Bolyard, Contributing Writer
Ever since West Virginia moved the drinking age to 21 in 1986, West Liberty University has been a dry campus. This prohibits the use, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages to those students under the age of 21. Certain campus events may be exempted, but overall, no alcohol is permitted.
“Alcohol is prohibited on campus other than events designated by the President, such as tailgating for football games,” said Vice President of Student Services, Scott Cook. “On a limited basis, students over the age of 21 can have alcohol in University Place I and II.”
Some students agree and some disagree on this decision, but it is certainly an issue that can affect all students on campus. From the typical college party or tailgating, many colleges face the same issues with alcohol.
According to the Annual Security Report (ASR) of 2014, an annual crime statistics of the campus published by the university regularly, alcohol related incidents gather the most arrests and disciplinary referrals. Liquor law disciplinary referrals had 53 incidents in 2014. The next closest disciplinary referral was for drugs – and it only had 9 cases.
Meanwhile, the number of liquor law arrests has risen as well, from only just 4 incidents in 2011 to 21 incidents in 2014. This violation is a broad term which covers either manufacturing, selling, transporting, furnishing, possessing of alcoholic beverages, furnishing liquor to minors, using a vehicle to transport liquor and drinking while on public transportation. This violation, according to the report, does not include driving under the influence or ‘drunkenness.’ The report doesn’t indicate how many drunk driving reports occurred, but that doesn’t defer it being an issue on campus.
“Students would go through the judicial process and could also be issued a citation based on the offense, if it’s underage or open container, et cetera,” Cook said.
Alcohol also raises concerns for the person and the people around them if too much is consumed. Even if a student doesn’t drink, they can still be at risk of facing an ‘alcohol emergency.’ This is where they find someone so intoxicated it’s hazardous to the person’s health. These situations can be tricky and stressful to handle.
According to the WLU health and safety procedure, if found in this situation, one should communicate with the person, don’t let them go to sleep, leave, walk alone or drive, and to turn them on their left side if they’re lying down or passed out in case they get ill. It also highlights to call for emergency assistance (police 8021, EMT) in extreme cases.
“Alcohol can be an issue for students,” said Cook, “and students need to be aware of the consequences that may occur. We have resources to assist students on campus if the student feels drinking may be an issue for him or her.”