Policy changes for drinking in residence halls

Cody Francis

Police to get involved with violations

Betsy Joseph’s letter announcing the policy change.

Starting this semester, a knock on the door from security for an alcohol violation could be followed by a visit from the Kent State police.

Residence Services has changed the policy for students who get caught drinking illegally in the residence halls.

“When RA’s or security staff become aware of a situation where students or guests are participating in underage drinking, they will contact the university police department to address a violation of the law and of university policy,” said Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services.

Joseph said the change in policy was put in place after Residence Services saw a 22 percent increase in alcohol-related violations last semester, compared to last year.

She said the increase in alcohol violation is also expected to be related to an increase in other violations, including noise and vandalism.

“It is extremely disruptive, not only to community but on the ability of students to be successful,” Joseph said.

Dean Tondiglia, associate director of public safety for the Kent State police, said the Kent State police are happy to help Residence Services deal with the recent spike in alcohol violations. Before this semester they were called for other violations including drugs, but not consistently for alcohol violations.

“It’s what we do,” Tondiglia said. “Residence Services will be calling more frequently, and that’s not anything we’re not used to doing or don’t already do.”

Some students think Residence Services should handle the issue in-house instead of going to the police.

“I just don’t understand why it doesn’t remain a campus issue,” said sophomore nursing major Carissa Hays. “I don’t know why the campus isn’t able to punish the students.”

Tondiglia said if the police are called to a situation in the residence halls, there is no set plan for every student who violates an alcohol policy.

“Each situation can be different,” Tondiglia said. “It’s not like there is one set thing we do; it depends on what the officers find. As far as to take legal action, that is up to the officers individually.”

If the police do decide to take legal action, however, Tondiglia said it would be a misdemeanor to the first degree, and the student would have to go to Kent Municipal Court. This does not mean students get off the hook from punishment by the university as well.

“We take our action, and we see if there is any action the university wants to take administratively,” Tondiglia said.

Joseph said there was a letter sent home to all students who live in the residence halls, and RA’s will have floor meetings throughout the beginning of the semester to explain the new policy to students.

Contact safety reporter

Cody Francis at [email protected].