Student Senate opposed resolution in favor of dry residence halls on campus

Three student senators wrote a resolution with intent of creating a safer living environment on campus

Student Senate voted on whether or not to support a resolution in favor of dry residence halls on campus.

Director Joe Cianciolo and Student Senators Jonathan Wieser and Hannah Effertz wrote the resolution last week in the interest of student safety. Wieser said the senators created the policy after the discussion of the Campus Carry Act and student safety at last week’s meeting.

According to residence hall policies, students 21 and older are allowed to have and consume alcoholic beverages in their rooms. However, the resolution student senators wrote supports the prohibition of all alcohol in residence halls. This includes residents legally old enough to drink alcohol.

Since most students in the residence halls are underage, Wieser said banning alcohol in the halls would reduce exposure to young students.

“A lot of students are first exposed to alcohol in the residence halls,” Wieser said.

Although Director Mary-Laura Samples said she supports the intent behind the policy and its concern for student safety, she doesn’t think the resolution is an effective solution to underage drinking. Samples said senate should improve the legislation by reaching out to the Residence Hall Association, students and hall directors to further discuss and research.

“I do believe that there is more work to be done,” Samples said. “I don’t think it’s something we should not pursue.”

Senator Alec Putnam, also Vice President of the Residence Hall Association, said he brought the resolution to hall government and RHA where they also agreed it was an ineffective solution.

“One of the big concerns they have is it will deter older residents from coming back and staying in the halls,” Putnam said.

Substance-free wings within residence halls already exist on campus, Putnam said. However, they never fill voluntarily.

“Those residents tend to voice the distaste about being placed in said wings,” Putnam said.

Also in opposition to the resolution, Senator Amber Hargesheimer said she doesn’t think it’s fair to take the right to drink away from students of age in their home.

Later Hargesheimer said if alcohol is prohibited in dorms it’s only going to push students somewhere else where students wouldn’t be as safe or where they would be more affected by rape and suicide.

“If we’re really allowing the safety of our students we need to make sure that these places are safe,” Hargesheimer said.

Nearing the end of discussion, Senator Effertz said she hadn’t heard any arguments for having alcohol in the dorms that can justify the amounts of social violence and number of suicides that are encouraged with alcohol.

“We’re supposed to be looking out for our students,” Effertz said. “We should be trying to protect them.”

The resolution failed after a majority of senators chose to oppose the resolution with a vote of 3-23-2.


In other Senate news

Student Body President Jake Wrasse said he had a successful visit to Madison with Director Katy McGarry to discuss the Campus Carry Act and the Higher Ed Lower Debt Bill with legislators. Wrasse said they had 22 in-person meetings with legislative offices and left material with 14 others.