Students, even those 21-plus, are unable to possess alcohol in Temple’s student housing: This is just one aspect of a “dry campus.”
Main Campus is not defined as a dry campus. However, students, both underage and of age, are not allowed to possess alcohol in Temple housing. Because of its elusive wording, Temple’s alcohol policy generates confusion, creating the appearance of inconsistencies.
Temple’s current Drug and Alcohol Policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees during special executive session in September 1990. It was supplemented by former university president David Adamany on Aug. 13, 2003. Applying to all students, the current policy states, “Temple University strictly prohibits the unlawful possession, use, consumption, distribution or manufacture of drugs and alcohol on university property, or as part of any university activity. A violation of this policy will subject the student to the range of sanctions, including, but not limited to, expulsion, as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.”
According to the policy statement of purpose, it was created because of the detrimental health risks involved with alcohol consumption, including “brain damage, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, ulcers, heart ailments, impotence, fetal alcohol syndrome, depression, paranoia, memory loss, blackouts, psychological and emotional problems, hypertension, eating disorders, loss of coordination, poor vision, and gastrointestinal problems.” Additionally, the university hoped that the new policy would encourage a stronger and safer academic environment.
At first glance, it may appear that Temple maintains a stance similar to that of dry campuses, prohibiting all consumption of alcohol on campus. However, this is not the case. Upon closer inspection, the policy actually only prohibits “the unlawful possession, use, consumption, distribution or manufacture of drugs and alcohol on university property, or as part of any university activity.”
As clarified by Eryn Jelesiewicz, director of university communications, “Alcoholic beverages may not, in any circumstance, be used by, possessed by or distributed to any person under 21 years of age. Students who unlawfully use, possess, manufacture or distribute alcoholic beverages or are publicly intoxicated are subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct.”
Yet, alcohol is absolutely forbidden in Temple residence halls, despite a student’s age. If a student is found to be in possession of alcohol, he or she must have a student conduct hearing, in addition to paying a $250 fine. After the first offense, the fine continues to rise and disciplinary action becomes more serious. Depending on the severity of the situation, students could be suspended or expelled.
As Jelesiewicz explained, “Alcohol is banned from Temple’s residence halls because the students who live there are not of legal age. Alcohol is not banned from campus.”
Currently, while housing residents 21-plus are a minority, this rational for the prohibition of alcohol in the residential halls is clear. However, several factors may change this in the future. For example, Temple is now offering four-year housing for honors students, adding more 21-plus residents into the halls. Additionally, the construction of new dormitories may also increase the number of legal drinking residents.
An additional complication to this policy comes from Maxi’s Bar and Grill, found in the heart of Main Campus, which opened in 2005, after Temple enacted its current alcohol policy. It is only a minute walk from 1940 residence hall, where alcohol is prohibited.
Temple highly endorses the bar. It is cited among the university’s “favorite places.” On its website, Temple cites Maxi’s as, “One of the best spots for people.”
Because the current alcohol policy, which allows for only “lawful” drinking, Maxi’s is not violating any policy regulations. However, it appears almost silly that an individual who is legally allowed to drink, may not be able to drink in his or her own room, but can walk down to Maxi’s and then order a drink at the bar.
With its wording, there is hardly a real contradiction between Maxi’s operating down the street from an alcohol-banned resident hall. However, it definitely generates some confusion about where alcohol consumption is allowed. And although Temple might take away some confusion with a change of its alcohol policy, it’s best to be realistic. Temple is a university. Like all universities, drinking will take place on campus – with or without a clear alcohol policy.
Emily DiCicco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.