Villanova has introduced a new alcohol policy this semester, featuring a few major changes to the previous policy.
Previously, one could possess one case of beer, two bottles of wine or one 750mL bottle of liquor in a residence hall or apartment, if the owners were of age. The new policy bans possession of all hard alcohol for those on campus who are legally old enough to drink. It also lifts the limit on the amount of beer and wine you can have in your dorm. The University claims that the need for this change is because most alcohol-related incidents stemmed from drinking hard alcohol/liquor.
If the University’s goal in changing the policy is to minimize the number of students who are written up unnecessarily, then it will surely be successful. But, if its goal really is to minimize the amount of hard liquor that students drink, I doubt it will meet that goal. Students are not going to stop drinking hard alcohol just because the University tells them they cannot have it in their room. First of all, they might not care about getting written up, or may not think they will be caught and still have hard alcohol in their dorms. Students also do not have to have hard alcohol in their apartments or rooms to be able to drink it. They could go off campus, drink hard alcohol, come back, and need to call VEMs. While they may not be in violation of the policy in this situation, as they did not have the hard alcohol in their own room, they will still need medical assistance. The University will have failed in its mission to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents. Though I do think this change is positive overall, I do not think there is anything the University can really do to change the way its students drink.
The most important change, however, is to the former “Medical Assistance Policy.” Under the old policy, even if a student were drunk or under the influence, she would not receive punishment for this if she called VEMs to help a friend who was also drunk or under the influence. This has not changed in the new policy. What has changed are the consequences for the friend for whom one might call for help. Previously, this friend who had violated the University’s drug and alcohol policy would face some kind of disciplinary action after he or she had received care. Now, according to the new policy, neither the person nor his or her friend will receive punishment.
This change, I think, will actually be effective. I have heard stories of students who did not call for help when a friend had had too much to drink because they did not want their friend to get in trouble. While this does prove, in a way, that Villanova students are considerate and care about their friends, in extreme cases, it can have really negative consequences. I think this really would remove the fear that some students have when considering whether or not to VEM their friends. They don’t have to worry about their friend getting in trouble or being angry with them for that reason. While this may lead to an increase in the number of students who get VEMed, it also ensures that we can keep people safe at Villanova.
Overall, I think the new policy is much better than the old one, but it has improved in some areas more so than others.