Cameron modifies alcohol policy

Jacob Jardel
Assistant Managing Editor
@JJardel_Writing

Cameron students and organizations can expect a new take on the old campus alcohol policy this semester.

The Board of Regents overseeing Cameron University approved revisions to the alcohol policy in March to be effective immediately. Student Housing, Student Development, the Wellness Center, Campus Life and the Dean of Students office drafted the amended policy.

In the policy, provisions clarified repercussions for having or imbibing alcohol on campus and allowed for a new minimum “Three Strikes” policy. The policy defined a strike as a final University action that finds a student or students guilty of a violation involving alcohol.

The policy states alcohol violations and misconduct includes a “minor in possession of alcohol; public intoxication; manufacture, use or possession of false identification; driving under the influence; driving while intoxicated and involvement in a crime while under the influence.”

Dean of Students Zeak Naifeh said the policy is more of a revision to the old policy with some added transparency to make the students more aware of the process.

“The institution is not really changed other than just making [the policy] more defined, which is a real benefit to the students,” he said. “[The previous policy] was pretty vague. We were all on board to outline this policy for people to know.”

The new campus alcohol policy outlines steps university officials will take in response to policy violations.

Individual ramifications may include parent, guardian and/or third party notification via return receipt certified mail an a follow-up phone call; a monetary fine or mandatory community service; completing educational alcohol or counseling programs; student housing probation or suspension; and disciplinary probation or automatic suspension. The severity of these ramifications differs for each strike accrued.

According to the policy, “if a student is suspended after the third strike and is readmitted to Cameron University, the student is readmitted with two strikes.”

On an organizational level, consequences could include a University imposed fine; completion of an educational alcohol program by 100 percent of active members; aggregate community service projects with a minimum amount of required hours for each member of the organization; a formal written warning, disciplinary probation or organizational suspension.

However, organizational sanctions are not just confined to campus. The new policy states sanctions administered to organizations will consider whether the violation was funded by the organization and if the violation occurred on organization property.

The policy also considers if two or more individuals of an organization take part in a violation while representing the organization regardless of the event’s location.

Lastly, the policy takes into account if the event uses the organization’s name or logo or if the organization’s event is designed to circumvent violation sanctions.

Cameron senior T.C. Ototivo, President of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, is a 23-year-old student who disagrees with the off-campus sanctions.

“It’s sanctions like this that make me glad I live off campus,” Ototivo said. “I have no problem with the rules as Cameron and the Board of Education pay a lot more money than I do to keep their University running.

“If they don’t want drunk students on campus, well hey, that’s what they want. I just don’t like the deal behind the rules if you have a private event off campus in your own house you can receive sanctions.”

Org Chart

click image to enlarge

If an organization receives three strikes, they will be placed under organization suspension for a minimum of one year and University approval, granted by the Office of Campus Life, is mandatory before the organization can be reinstated.

Under the revised campus policy, University officials may be notified of misconduct through police reports from CU Public Safety or other law enforcement or security agencies, an incident report generated in Student Housing, notification by a University official or any other information deemed reliable by the University.

Naifeh said the University does not jump to conclusions and strives to avoid putting innocent Aggies under probation. He said the new policy provides a cut-and-dry understanding for students when it comes to disciplinary action.

“My focus for discipline is that any kind of student conduct and discipline should be educational,” Naifeh said. “Every stage of the process, there’s some kind of educational component where students can learn to better themselves and educate them with what’s going on and their repercussions.”

Director of Student Development Dr. Jennifer Pruchnicki said when revising the policy, standards and procedures from other institutions were taken into account.

“The policy also ensures the student receives due process and notice,” Pruchnicki said. “Should a student be affected in the three strikes sanction process, we would work with the student to try to make sure they don’t get to the third strike. We are here to be supportive and work with them on a plan for their success on our campus.”

Finally, the policy states all fines collected as a result of the given statutes will be used to further the university’s alcohol and drug educational programs.

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