By Lindsay Haislip
While some may think otherwise, the campus alcohol policy has not changed, according to Director of Public Safety, Jerry Roderick. “There has been no direction given to go out and enforce the policy. We do what we’ve always done, said Roderick”.
For upperclassmen who are familiar with Washington College’s alcohol policy, there is not much of an excuse, but for incoming freshmen, Roderick said that, “we initially start the year doing our educational piece: this is the college policy, understand what the policy is, and if you violate that, understand that you are subject to enforcement action.” The issue so far has not been with incoming freshmen that are unfamiliar with the policy, but, “most of the citations that have been issued have been issued to upperclassmen who are very familiar with campus policies, and just have elected to violate them,” said Roderick.
The college has only issued four citations so far for the fall semester, and has had one appeal for a citation, according to Roder- ick. The appeal was for an open con- tainer citation, “and it was issue in the parking lot across the street from the office here,” said Roderick. The justi- fication and reason for the appeal was ‘getting a ride home from campus and opened a beer.’ He was underage, and that was his reason for requesting a repeal. There is only so much I can do here. People aren’t using common sense.”
The officers do use discretion in the field, and “ [they] are trying to work with the students, and say ‘look, the campus policy is this, you just can’t choose to violate it,’” said Roderick. “The expectation is that you abide by the policy, if you don’t, enforcement action will be taken.”
So far, there is no direct discussion within the office about aggressively going out and looking for offenders. More often than not, the officers are coming across situations where some- body has obviously been in a position where they have violated the policy, and the officer just can’t ignore that, according to Roderick.
The officers try and work with students on campus and be middle of the road and reasonable in how they handle these issues.
“The objective in all of this is to find a level of cooperation between the students and the policy, and know what’s acceptable and what’s not,” said Roderick.
The key is cooperation, according to Roderick. “Clearly, some offenses require immediate enforcement action. Typically that happens when people are less than cooperative with the officer who is handling the situ- ation, and escalates it up to an enforcement action rather than a reasonable conversation,” he said. “Being cooperative and nice can take you a long way.”
Oftentimes, when students come to college, they think it is okay to drink because they assume things are different on a college campus, and the consequences are different. The reality is that “it’s also a state law,” said Roderick. “We try and deal with it in-house rather than turn it over to the courts to deal with.”
Roderick said, “I often tell students that if you were in Ocean City, would you walk out onto the Boardwalk carrying an open container of beer? You wouldn’t even think of it, because you knew the consequences would be pretty great if you did that, so why is it you come here and you feel as though you have the right to do it; yea maybe things are a little more relaxed, but there are still consequences, so you have to think about what you’re doing,” he said.