UMD alcohol policy guidelines more strict than College of St. Scholastica’s
The University of Minnesota Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica have two different approaches regarding their alcohol policies. UMD has stricter guidelines, whereas CSS leans toward less harsh violations and more alcoholic education.
According to Vice Chancellor of UMD Lisa Erwin, UMD does not use the terms “dry” or “wet” when describing their alcohol policy.
“Dry makes sense, and wet makes sense,” Dr. Erwin said. “We are somewhere on that spectrum leaning much closer to ‘dry.’ This is a regent’s policy, which means it was approved by the Board of Regents. It was last updated in 2013 and applies to all five campuses of the University of Minnesota. The guiding principles are around compliance, education, counseling, and health and safety.”
This means that no alcohol is allowed anywhere on campus. However, alcohol is permitted at events if approved by the chancellor.
“Alcohol is allowed on campus in very limited circumstances,” Dr. Erwin said. “When the chancellor approves of the event, the folks serving the alcohol have to have a number of Minnesota required trainings, so only people of age can purchase alcohol.”
These requirements mean that the people in charge of the facilities and the people pouring the alcohol must be licensed.
One group of people at UMD licensed to have alcohol at events, after approval from Chancellor Black, is Kirby Student Center. They acquired this license in 2014, according to Dr. Erwin. This allows them to rent out facilities, such as Kirby Ballroom, to outsiders and make money. This income allows Kirby to have lower student fees.
If people want to request alcohol for an on-campus event, they must fill out a form and send it to the chancellor.
Just like how the chancellor must approve any event with alcohol on campus, the dean of students at CSS must also approve of every event with alcohol no matter their differences in other aspects of their policies, according to Elliot Johnston, CSS’s director of residential life.
“I call our policy damp, meaning that alcohol is allowed in some spots,” Johnston said. “Of course we follow state law. You have to be 21 years old to consume, similar to UMD where there has to be some approval regarding an event with alcohol. The dean of students has to approve that.”
According to CSS’s alcohol policy, alcohol is not allowed in the dorms at all even if a resident is 21 years old or older. However, alcohol is allowed in the on-campus apartments. Residents over 21 years old are allowed to consume alcohol in the apartments even if they are rooming with someone underage.
Johnston said that the on call staff are provided with breathalyzers to combat underage drinking on campus. This ensures that underage students who are around alcohol will not be penalized for being sober or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“So, if you’re the sober driving, you don’t have to worry about not hanging out and being responsible and you don’t have to worry about hiding and being scared about being caught for just being there,” Johnston said. “Just because you can’t drink doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize when your friends want to drink alcohol.”
CSS wants to take a more lenient and educational approach to alcohol that creates a conversation about safe drinking, according to Johnston.
At CSS, when a student violates the policy, they may be required to do community service and take an online assessment about alcohol safety or talk to a counselor instead of just paying a fine.
“I really like the approach we’re taking here,” Johnston said.