Committee mulls new alcohol rule


    Students traveling on school-sponsored trips next fall will not be allowed to drink alcohol during the trip if a proposed policy is approved.

    This policy would apply to all students, even those older than 21, said Michael Russel, assistant dean of Campus Life.

    Campus Life officials started considering the policy last academic year, but no specific incident caused the policy to come about, Russel said.

    Student Government Association President Jay Zeidman criticized the proposal.
    “Students should be allowed to follow the state’s law of consuming alcohol at the age of 21,” Zeidman said. “However, students need to be responsible citizens on university trips.”

    The policy, which Russel said helps to minimize the risk associated with student travel, will be presented to the Student Organizations Committee later in the semester for voting.

    “If you are of legal drinking age you have every right to have a drink, but I do understand the rule especially since TCU is paying for the trip,” Panhellenic President Kelsey Zoellner said.

    The Student Organizations Committee is made up of faculty, staff and students who are all appointed by the chancellor, said Angie Taylor, associate dean of Student Development and director of Alcohol and Drug Education. The committee acts as an appeal board and meets on an as-needed basis.

    “We are trying to do a little alcohol education,” Russel said. “If drinking is such a big part of your life, then you should reconsider it.”

    Taylor said she isn’t certain if the committee will vote in favor of the policy but it might pass because of the safety issue.

    “There is always a healthy debate and discussion because we have diverse opinions,” Taylor said. “It’s hard to say if it will pass.”

    If the policy is enacted, violations would be considered on a case-by-case basis and Campus Life would take into consideration the individual’s situation, Russel said.

    Taylor said a student found in violation of the policy would receive an alcohol violation as if he or she were on campus.

    Although this policy has not been voted on yet, it has already affected a group of students who traveled to the Mid-American Greek Council Association conference in Chicago on Feb. 18 through Feb. 22.

    Russel informed the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils on Feb. 16 that drinking would not be allowed.

    “It’s appropriate to have a glass of wine or a pint of beer, yet the TCU administration assumes students will only pick up a bottle of beer to get drunk,” said Ben Johns, vice president of recruitment for Interfraternity Council.

    Johns, an accounting finance and philosophy major, said he understands TCU is trying to relieve the liability of students drinking alcohol on trips, but the administration should allow students 21 years and older to sign a waiver and agree that it’s their responsibility to not let drinking interfere with the trip.

    The students agreed to follow the code of conduct when they enrolled in TCU, Johns said.

    “If Campus Life is really uncomfortable with students of legal age drinking, then there is a trust issue,” Zoellner said. “If they can’t trust students to do something the law says is okay, how is Campus Life suppose to trust them to do their jobs as student leaders on campus.”