Shedding Lite: Housing and Dining drinking policies promote safety

Different types of alcohol in KITE's Bar window in Aggieville on November 18th 2019 (Dalton Wainscott I Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State Housing and Dining has a plethora of policies and programs in place to help college students stay safe and make wise decisions when it comes to consuming alcohol.

“We all recognize that it’s going to happen,” Neffertia Tyner, Assistant Community Coordinator at Goodnow Hall, said. “My priority is to at least make sure they are being smart and safe about it.”

While some staff at Housing and Dining may understand drinking might happen, there are still rules students need to follow to live on campus.

Residents living in on-campus housing are allowed to have alcohol if they are over the age of 21. However, to comply with the state law of Kansas, the alcohol by volume content can not exceed 3.2 percent and a resident can not keep more than 30 cans or bottles, said Nic Lander, associate director of resident life for Housing and Dining.

“Enforcement of the rules doesn’t change for residence over 21. Even though they are legally allowed to have a drink, if their behavior is disruptive to other residents or staff, they can still be referred to the ASAP Program or Lafene for Alcohol counseling,” Lander said.

The online ASAP course and the referrals to Lafene’s counseling services are just the first steps of consequences for all residents who have had alcohol related incidents in the halls, Lander said. The ASAP course costs $50, and a referral to see an alcohol and drug specialist at Lafene costs $100. Depending on circumstances, residents can be kicked out of their residence hall for their behavior, but it is rare.

“What is normal is for the RA’s to document the situation and give the report to the Community Coordinators or graduate staff. The RA’s themselves don’t decide the consequences,” Lander said. “Depending on the severity of the situation and what happened, the repercussions of the misuse of alcohol can vary case by case.”

After a resident is reported for misconduct, RA’s will commonly conduct follow up meetings to check on the resident to see how the student is doing after the incident. Ayanna Phillips, senior in music, has been an RA for three years and said that in her experience fall semesters see the most incidents that need to be reported.

“Drinking is typically more prominent in the fall semester,” Phillips, who is currently an RA in Goodnow hall, said. “The students in the residence halls have a lot more freedom than they are typically accustomed to.”

Community coordinators, community assistants and even athletic coaches and faculty all act as the first line reporters for the misuse of alcohol on campus. But RA’s, who are more commonly the first to file reports in campus housing, look for disruptive behaviors related to alcohol consumption, such as fighting, vandalism or sickness. Often times, a simple concern for a student who seems under the influence will be cause for them to make a report.

Marcus Cotrell, a Community Coordinator at Moore Hall in the Derby complex, said that RA’s, CA’s, and CC’s aren’t “out to get you” when handling situations with the misuse of alcohol and disruptive behaviors.

“Our main concern is if they are safe,” Cotrell said. “If we meet with folks, it depends on whether we need to call 911 or just sit down and have a conversation regarding their behavior. We’re not here to shame them.”

Housing and Dining also promotes the utilization of the Lifeline 911 policy, which gives amnesty to those who report underage drinking in situations where the consequences may be harmful to others or life threatening, as well as encourages students to seek out Alcohol and Other Drug Education programs at Lafene Health Center.