DSU has seen an increase in alcohol and drug related arrests on campus

The total amount of drug and alcohol offenses were greater during the Fall 2021 semester versus the Spring 2021 semester. Alcohol offenses are continuously rising over time. Graphic by Elissa Aguayo.

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Substance and alcohol abuse is a rising issue on Dixie State University’s campus.

According to DSU’s crime log, in 2021, there were 12 drug offenses and 24 alcohol offenses.

Barfuss said most of these alcohol violations are in on-campus housing, with occasional arrests at school events.

“Although it may not be possible for a university to ultimately prevent any and all alcohol consumption by its students, much can be done,” said Seth Gubler, executive director of auxiliaries and director of housing and resident life. “We will continue to employ efforts of prevention and response to promote student wellness and success.”

Students can easily sneak alcohol into their dorm rooms without being caught. On-campus housing does not perform bag checks or monitor the students going in or out. 

“I believe that a screening process with a bag-check would create an invasive and inconvenient living environment for our students,” Gubler said. “Additionally, from a pragmatic standpoint, it would be extremely challenging to manage effectively; there are approximately 1,200 students living on campus in multiple buildings, and some of the buildings have several points of entry.”

Gubler said it would take multiple new hires to conduct bag checks at every door. Each building has multiple points of entry that would take a lot to monitor constantly.

DSU has a zero tolerance policy regarding alcohol violations on campus. Dixie State University Policy 552 prohibits students from use, consumption, storage, possession, manufacture, distribution or sale of any alcoholic beverage in any location on any university premises, which includes on-campus housing.

Students found with alcohol in their dorms on campus will not be evicted unless there are other criminal violations.

“If a student is found to be violating law, they will be criminally arrested and issued a citation,” Barfuss said.

A citation is a formal request that does not require a student being checked into jail. Barfuss said this is done for uniformity and fairness to students, so one student does not receive less or more of a consequence than another. 

If a student is arrested for an alcohol violation, they are referred to the crisis, assessment, risk, and evaluation team for review and discipline. The arrested student can then be referred to the Dean of Students, Ali Threet, to be put on a performance improvement plan.

If the student continues to violate law or the student code of conduct, they enter the disciplinary process which can include student board conduct reviews, probation, or lead to expulsion from DSU’s campus.

“The student code of conduct is very clear,” Barfuss said. “We want DSU to be a safe and enjoyable learning environment for all students.”

Campus police are currently working with the dean of students office and the Booth Wellness Center to implement a new program that allows police to issue DSU disciplinary referrals to students in violation rather than criminal citations. 

“This will allow students to avoid criminal arrest records while addressing the violation from an overall wellness approach,” Barfuss said. 

Assaults, felony level offenses, other crimes will not be referred for internal discipline. These policies and procedures should be in effect for the Fall 2022 semester.

With these new policies in effect, faculty hopes to see less alcohol offenses in on-campus housing. There is no plan to start bag-checks or monitor students more closely, as it would be difficult with the amount of students and entry points in each building.