Forum discusses MU alcohol policies

Wednesday, October 29, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:44 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

Alcohol and other drug use accounts for between 75 percent and 80 percent of all violations handled by MU’s residential life and student life departments, said Mark Lucas, interim director of student life. Lucas spoke Tuesday in a forum in Memorial Union about alcohol on campus, one of the final events in a month-long campus alcohol responsibility campaign.

“Residential life sees approximately 1,200 cases a year and student life sees about 400 cases a year, and when they are combined the overall cases are just dominated by alcohol and drug violations,” Lucas said.

Later, Lucas said the numbers don’t surprise him.

“The percentage of violations that are alcohol-related has remained the same for all seven years I have worked for student life,” he said, “but there has been a recent increase in the amount of overall alcohol-related cases.”

But that increase could be a good thing, he said.

“Student behavior hasn’t changed; enforcement has changed,” Lucas said. “MU police is being better trained and is cracking down on alcohol violations.”

During the forum, a student asked why, if alcohol is not allowed on campus, there is so much public drinking during MU football games.

It’s a matter of staffing in the face of huge crowds, Lucas responded.

“The policy of dry campus does not change on football Saturdays, but this is not what a lot of people, including me, have seen the past few weeks, especially the Nebraska game,” he said. “There is pervasive drinking all day long, but we just don’t have the ability to have officers everywhere when there are 70,000 people in the stadium. But at the same time, officers do make 50 to 100 alcohol-related arrests during any normal football Saturday.”

John Whiteside, a former Columbia Municipal Court judge who also spoke at the forum, attributed alcohol violations to youth.

“The most common problem with undergrads is that they’re human,” Whiteside said. “The MU campus is part of a unique city with many people under 25. There are obviously going to be problems with alcohol.”

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