No more community service option for first alcohol violation

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    Alcohol violations can affect students’ social life and reputation.

    Now, a first offense will also cost them $150 because there’s no community service option for first time offenders.

    The decision to drop the community service option was based on a recommendation of an
    alcohol and drug task force that met during spring of 2010 to consider the matter. 

    The task force researched and discussed underage drinking trends before sending their proposal to Don Mills, Ph.d, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.

    On-campus liquor law violations are on the rise. Crime statistics from the TCU police department show there were 371 liquor law violations in 2009 compared to 501 in 2010. The data show a 35% increase in violations in one year. According to the executive summary from the task force report 76 percent of TCU students choose to drink alcohol.

    “Forced community service did not seem to effectively reduce misuse of alcohol and forced community service does not bring community service benefits either,” Mills said in an email.

    Underage students that are intoxicated or in the presence of alcohol are in violation of the TCU Alcohol Policy.

    A letter explaining the violation would not be sent to the student’s parents after their first offense.

    “It is the responsibility of the student to communicate [their violation] with their families prior to them receiving a bill,” said Adams.

    The task force wanted to make their zero tolerance for underage drinking a community concern.

    The fines for each offense have been the same for about 8 years, Director of Alcohol and Drug Education Sparkle Greenhaw, Ph.d, said.

    Susan Adams, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Campus Life, co-chaired the task force and said the group’s recommendations are meant to be proactive, rather than a response to a particular incident.

    “We want peers to be responsible for peers,” Adams said. Adams said she wanted students to be accountable for one another and adhere by the strict policy.

    Sophomore political science major Ashley DeLeon said she thought students have plenty of warning and know not to drink underage.

    “I don’t really think that the change matters… because we already know better,” she said.

    There is concern that some students might not otherwise consider doing community service.

    Senior political science and sociology major Jordan Mazurek is the president of TCU’s Habitat for Humanity campus chapter. Mazurek said he thought the option of community service hours gave students an opportunity to expand their social lives in a positive way.

    “We have members that got similar violations and now they’re our most dedicated members,” he said.

    While names of alcohol violators are not public, Greenhaw said she thought numbers should not be the focus.

    “Violation numbers are tricky… typically it’s a measurement of enforcement and not a measurement of drinking,” Greenhaw said.

    First and second offenders would attend an alcohol and drug workshop in TCU’s Alcohol and Drug Education office.

    The workshop includes information on how to help a friend with an alcohol or drug problem, alcohol poisoning, sexual assault and student safety, Greenhaw said.

    Penalties for alcohol violations:

    $150 for the first offense, students must also attend an alcohol education workshop.

    $225 for the second offense, students must attend an alcohol education workshop, complete forty five hours of community service and a letter is be sent to their parents.

    $300 for the third offense, students are placed on disciplinary probation, they can be removed from their residence hall, must complete sixty hours of community service, attend a minimum of three counseling sessions and a letter is sent to their parents.

    The updated TCU Student Handbook is available online.

    The task force report is below.