DSU partying falters; strict policies increasing prevention

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The number of underage drinking and wild parties for Dixie State University students have decreased in the last 20 years, leaving people curious as to why.

According to the article, “Drinking Among College Freshmen Hits Record Low, Major Survey Finds” by Lylah M. Alphonse from Yahoo.com, students have become more conscious of their schoolwork and less on getting a buzz.

Simply, students have become more responsible and don’t have time for partying.

According to the 2012 Freshman Norms Report, produced by UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the percent of students’ underage drinking in 1982 reduced from 73.7 percent to 35.4 in 2011.

Don Reid, DSU head of campus security, said students are starting to realize they can’t party hardy and get good grades forever.

“[This] demographic of students are realizing that [they] need to take it seriously if they want to get a good education,” said Del Beatty, DSU dean of students.

But Beatty said there are always those students who can find whatever they want, such as drinks and parties, wherever they go.

Some students agreed with Beatty.

“If you want to find [parties], you can find them,” said Alex Lawhun, a sophomore psychology major from Draper. “I never really look, but if I tried, I could easily find them.”

Lawhun said each year since he has been enrolled in DSU, he has found the same amount of parties.

Reid said there was a time when DSU was known as a party school, even outside of the state. But he said it is all in the way people look at the situation.

Reid said DSU has a zero-tolerance policy, and that’s the reason its statistics may have been higher than other schools.

“One of the things that I have noticed is that we are much more harsh with underage drinking,” Beatty said. “But, the number of cases that I have seen since I have worked here has decreased.”

According to the DSU arrest and crime statistics for the 2010-11 school year, there were 42 arrests for minor consumption and possession of alcohol, 32 arrests less than 2008-09. In addition, possession of alcohol by an adult on public grounds decreased by nine from that year. 

Beatty said even if you are over the age of 21, alcohol is illegal on campus. Often when officers respond to an incident on campus, and it is evident that there has been drinking, no one will own up to it. So instead of just a few people getting a ticket, everyone will. He said he supports that because DSU wants the students to learn to take responsibility for their actions.

Those rules have been set to create a safe environment for the DSU campus.

Reid said DSU security would have rather cited a student at 8 p.m. for drinking than to come back at 1 a.m. and cite him for DUI, assault or rape. He said though DSU statistics were higher because of the zero tolerance policy, it had one of the safer campuses.

But has that really stopped most of the parties on campus?

Stephen Campbell, manager of Canyonlands Apartments, said even over the last couple of years, the partying there has gone down.

“Six years ago [Canyonlands] was where partiers came to live because they knew they wouldn’t get in trouble,” Campbell said. “And now they don’t want to live here because they know they will.”

Campbell said he doesn’t believe students becoming more responsible has anything to do with the numbers dropping. He said Cayonlands has really cracked down on the tenants and have no tolerance for drinking.

So is the percentage lowering because students are more responsible, or is it because of the penalties of underage drinking?

Reducing the drinking percentage rate has been a goal on campuses across the country in the last couple of decades in reaction to things such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and law suits against other schools.

Reid said now many colleges are required to cite every underage drinker. That is one of influences that have caused those numbers to go down.

DSU has taken some actions to help the drinking statistics to go down.

Beatty said a lot of people have taken part in programs on campus, and those programs have been steps in progress to lowering that statistic.

“We now have the wellness center, [where] students can self refer if they are having a problem with alcoholism or drug addiction,” Beatty said. “We also have counselors for free, and we offer alcohol anonymous classes.”

Reid said some students have matured with age and realized when enough is enough. They are now putting their careers first and their partying second. He said the proof of that is in the number of students being cited. When you look at the students from freshmen to seniors, you will see less alcohol and drugs as you go up the ladder.

Robbie Neilson, a freshman business major from Gresham, Ore., said the parties he has been to had no drinking. He said he doesn’t think the lowered number has anything to do with the responsibility of the students.

“Honestly, due to the cops on drugs and alcohol, the parties are less intense and more mellow,” Neilson said. “But every once in a while I think you will find a rockin’ party.”