It’s Friday night, and classes are done. You’re out having fun at a party with friends, and everything is perfect. That is, until the cops drop by for a visit. Until now, every drink you took obscured another one of the week’s memories, but with the knock at the door you are rudely brought back to reality.
Chances are this hasn’t happened to you, but we’ve all heard the rumors. So what really happens when the police have to break up parties and cite students for drinking? In Temple dorms, the Resident Assistants are the main liaisons. If they stop by a room where students are drinking or possibly drunk, then the RA can cite the students. These students will have a hearing with the University Disciplinary Committee. This can result in fines and potential parental notification.
However, if the RA feels that things are getting out of hand, then he can call the police to help get the situation under control.
“Our main goal is to keep students safe,” said Charles Leone, deputy director of the Department of Campus Safety Services.
After determining that a student doesn’t require medical attention, a variety of disciplinary measures can be implemented in conjunction with the UDC. These measures can include community service, referral to the Mandatory Judicial Sanction for Drug and Alcohol Safety at CASA (Campus Alcohol and Substance Awareness), fines and in extreme cases, expulsion.
At the Mandatory Judicial Sanction for Drug and Alcohol Safety there are several tracks of discipline. “If you are caught in the presence of alcohol, [you] are drinking or [are] drunk…then you have to complete Track 1,” said Kristine DeJesus, a psychologist at Tuttleman Counseling Services. “Track 1 is a two-hour online test about drug and alcohol safety that provides an assessment of your drinking patterns. Track 2 is if you get in trouble more than once, then you bring in the online test and have an evaluation with a counselor. If you are so drunk you had to be hospitalized…then you have to complete Track 3 which includes the online test, an intake, which is a meeting with a counselor to discuss drug and alcohol use, and then you attend a peer counseling group.”
On top of that, underage drinkers can receive a state citation from the Temple police as well. “The fines start at $300 and include a 90-day suspension of your license… and we must, by state law, notify the guardians if the students are cited,” Leone said.
Since January the Temple police have reported 85 liquor law violations on campus property and another 124 on private or public property in the surrounding area, all resulting in some kind of disciplinary action.
Underage drinking at private parties held within the university’s jurisdiction, including parties at frats, sororities and apartments can incur the same types of penalties as Temple housing. Moreover, public drunkenness at any age can result in disciplinary action from UDC and police.
Most college students are bound to be at a party where there is some kind of RA or police involvement. RAs interrupted an unnamed Temple student’s recent party, where there was drinking, but luckily for her there was no proof of alcohol consumption. “I was so scared when the RAs came, because if my parents found out I’d be going to community college, forever,” she said.
The Temple police also implement an array of preventative measures. They are eager and willing to work with students, fraternities, sororities, and others and can provide education on alcohol safety. Additionally, students have the vast resources of Temple’s campus counseling services, including CASA (Campus Alcohol and Substance Abuse) which offers workshops, drug and alcohol–awareness activities and counseling.
“If the people having the party are responsible and they are of age, just drinking and having fun, then we don’t get involved…” Leone said. “We’re not on the lookout for parties…our main goal is to try and keep [students] safe; unfortunately sometimes we have to police [students] and not just the area. It is probably one of the worst feelings if you have to tell parents that their child is critically injured.”
Regardless of your plans this weekend, it is important to remember to party safe, and that police are here to help maintain that level of safety. Even if that means cutting the fun short.
Josh Chamberlain can be reached at email@example.com.