A recent survey published in USA Today on drinking in college co-ed dormitories sheds light on the decrease in Seton Hall’s own alcohol-related violations last year.
On Nov. 17, USA Today published an article about the results of a study that study found that students in co-ed dorms are more likely to drink than those in single-sex dorms, and are 2.5 percent more likely to drink excessively on a weekly basis.
The study appeared in the Journal of American College Health surveyed 510 students living on five different college campuses, with 87 percent living in co-ed dorms.
Jasmin Verem, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, said that this survey is hard to compare to Seton Hall’s residence halls because there are no same-sex dorms, so there is no data to compare.
However, the closest way to compare at Seton Hall would be the single-sex wings in Boland Hall.
“There is not much difference in data there between the wings,” Verem said.
Verem said that Boland Hall most likely has the highest number of alcohol-related violations because of the sheer number of first-year students in residence. Nationally, he said, freshman residence halls also usually exhibit high numbers.
“Freshmen are away from home,” Verem said. “They have a sense a freedom that they can do things without constraints and try to push the envelope.”
Receiving an alcohol-related judicial violation will result in a letter being sent to parents, which is new this year, Verem said.
In the 08-09 academic year, there were a total of 98 cases of alcohol-related judicial violations. Within those 98 cases, 181 males and 111 females received violations. This was a severe decrease from the 07-08 academic year, in which there were 248 cases reported, with 292 males and 162 females involved.
Verem referred to the 07-08 academic year as a “very abnormal year” because of the high numbers. He said that it was the student population of that year was the most logical explanation, and that every few years the numbers change.
The 07-08 year also marked an increase from the 105 cases in the 2006 to 2007 academic year, in which there were 255 males and 153 females receiving violations.
“Males tend to have higher numbers of alcohol-related violations in the residence halls,” Verem said.
Verem said that the number of alcohol-related incidents in residence halls, both at Seton Hall and nationally, depend on the students and programs run in the residence hall.
Residence Advisers plan events focused on substance abuse and the dangers of alcohol, Verem said.
“It’s alternatives for students from drinking, such as programs like ‘root beer pong,'” Verem said. “(They are) alternatives for doing something other than going out on Thursday and drinking.”
Senior Jacqueline Manzo has been an RA for three years in Boland Hall. Manzo said that in her experience, the amount of drinking in the dorms usually depends on the students.
Manzo runs a program annually about mothers against drunk driving, where two representatives come and share their stories with students. Students with alcohol-related violations have to go to the program.
“I’ve seen numbers decrease (after the program),” Manzo said. “A lot of them have a complete turn around. It really opened up their eyes to being safe and making healthy decisions.”
The protocol in an alcohol-related violation, according to Verem, is that the RAs come in and pour all the alcohol out. They collect students’ ID’s and document their observations.
The students are assigned a hall director or a member of the Dean’s Office to meet with, depending upon the severity of the situation, such as the amount of the alcohol in the room or prior instances.
The student then must complete an education sanction, have counseling and an assessment, attend an alcohol class or receive an official warning and probation.
Lynette Rodriguez, a junior English major, said that she disagrees with the rule that students who are 21 and bringing alcohol into a residence hall must sign it in.
“It kind of ridiculous that if you’re 21, you have to sign in alcohol,” Rodriguez said. “It just should be allowed to bring in alcohol because it’s legal. And if you’re 21, and have a roommate who’s not, you can’t drink in the presence of your roommate.”
Rodriguez also disliked the new rule about notifying parents about violations.
“It’s dumb because once you’re 18, you’re legally an adult. You should be in charge of things and there’s no reason to notify parents. You’re not in high school anymore.”
Verem said that he recognizes that alcohol-related events are a part of college.
“We try to educate students about alcohol and potential dangers of it,” Verem said. “The best thing to do is educate them in alcohol’s danger and let students make the right chances.”
Brittany Biesiada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.