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Students often disregard SHU’s strict alcohol policy

Despite Seton Hall’s alcohol policy being strict, SHU’s Annual Security Report recorded 109 on-campus disciplinary referrals for alcohol-related policy breaches in 2015, which is the most recent data.

SHU’s alcohol policy states, “only residents and their guests who are 21 years of age and over may legally possess and consume alcoholic beverages in alcohol designated living areas.”

Kathleen Hynes-Lifland, assistant director of Health Services, said via email that although many students have already experimented with alcohol by the time they arrive on campus, “certain factors can influence their relationship with the use of alcohol.” These factors include peer pressure, social acceptance, availability of alcohol, and weakening of parental supervision, she said.

Hynes-Lifland added that students are most susceptible to heavy drinking during the first six weeks of freshman year. 

“Most young adults may not be aware that they are drinking heavily,” Hynes-Lifland said. “Proactive screening may be beneficial for those students who are at high risk for heavy drinking.”

Hynes-Lifland added that students who come to SHU Health Services for regular care are required to fill out an alcohol-screening questionnaire once a year, and based on their answers, interventions and sessions with a counselor may occur.

Housing and Residence Life (HRL) and Public Safety declined to comment.

Ryan Tonra, freshman diplomacy and international relations major, said he believes the rules are outdated and should be changed. He said he thinks that pretending alcohol is not a part of being an adult does not help prepare students for the real world.

“Other universities have looser policies,” Tonra said. “As a result, the students feel they are being treated as adults and behave more maturely.”

But other students think SHU’s policy should stay the same.

“I don’t think they should be changed,” said Allison Kroeger, a freshman economics major. “We’re lucky enough to not be a dry campus, especially as a Catholic university.”

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Kroeger also said that she understood why the rules were written the way they were.

“The rules that they have in place are to keep kids who are not of drinking age from drinking and that’s fair because the school has to follow the law,” she said.

Kendra Campbell, freshman sociology major, echoed Kroeger’s thoughts.

“I think the policies are pretty rational and not too harsh,” Campbell said. “It’s a two strike system, which is sensible considering everyone at SHU is an adult and can make their own decisions.”

Campbell did say, however, that she believes a student’s parents should not be contacted if they violate the school’s alcohol policy.

“They shouldn’t be informed until at least probation two,” she said. 

Isabel Soisson can be reached at


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