New alcohol policy leaves students’ glasses half empty

Graphic showing that less alcohol can be possessed by each student
Graphic by Patrick Freebern

Just before Oswego State was ranked 25th on a Best Party School list, the school announced that the amount of alcohol students may possess will be reduced by half.

The list, produced by Newsweek and The Daily Beast, cited 438 liquor law violations in 2009.

In an attempt to reduce binge drinking on campus, the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) committee initiated the change this semester.

“If nothing else, I’m pleased that our policy is consistent with our overall message concerning alcohol, which is that we expect our students to consume it responsibly or not at all,” AOD Coordinator Ted Winkworth said in an email.

The previous policy limited each student 21 years of age or older to 30 twelve oz. cans or bottles of beer, a gallon of wine, or one quart of liquor. The amounts for students of legal drinking age have been reduced to twelve 12-oz. of cans or bottles of beer, 1.5 liters of wine, or 750 milliliters of hard liquor.

“If you take a look at the research behind alcohol use and different kinds of risk-management you’ll find that the amount of alcohol available is directly related to the amount that people will generally consume,” Winkworth said. “In other words, if it’s there we tend to drink it.”

The logis is if there is less alcohol on campus, less can be consumed, resulting in fewer problems like student blackouts, vomiting in public areas such as bathrooms, or injuries.

“I think alcohol should be limited because if that’s [the new policy] the control factor of how people can present themselves, then that’s good. I am distracted while I’m studying or doing homework at night, which is when most people go out to drink” freshman Cindy Nervil said.

All SUNY schools do not allow students under the age of 21 to have alcohol. The policies for those 21 and older vary from school to school. At SUNY Brockport students of legal drinking age are not allowed to sell alcohol, but there are no constraints listed as to how much they can have, according to their websites. SUNY Geneseo also does not list a limit, but they say alcohol is not allowed in large containers in residence halls, or in public spaces in the residence halls.

“I think that it’s important that we have a limitation to how much alcohol is on our campus, considering it’s a wet campus,” senior Karima Fyfield said.

Some students have expressed their opinions about the new policy and question just what purpose it serves.

“I think they are trying to enforce a better sense of responsibility towards the students and to promote a better and safer campus,” Fyfield said.

Some have their doubts that the new policy will be really effective if not properly enforced.

“I think that honestly, people are going to do what they want to do” freshman Nichole Muller said.

“The point of an alcohol policy isn’t to ruin anyone’s good time but rather to try to prevent the bad stuff from happening,” said Winkworth.

“No incidents involving excessive amounts of alcohol have been reported as of yet,” Residence Hall administrator Richard Kolenda said.