Southern to maintain dry policy

In movies about college life, the alcohol flows like milk and honey in the Promised Land. Drinking games, beer bongs and keggers are seen as essentials to the college experience. But don’t look for that experience on the grounds of Missouri Southern; the campus is dry.

Administrators believe the dry campus is a good thing.

“Periodically I go around to different seminars and training sessions, meetings with other college campus administrations,” said Ken Kennedy, director of public safety. “The problems we have are just miniscule compared to the problems they have at football games that serve alcohol or in the dorms when they allow alcohol.”

“You have fewer problems when you are alcohol free,” said Doug Carnahan, dean of students. “It’s especially affective in our residence halls, because almost all of our residence halls students are under 21. It makes it a lot easier to enforce.”

For the most part, students show apathy or support for Southern’s dry campus status.

“I don’t think about it much,” said Crystal Zaerr, sophomore undecided major. “I don’t really drink. It’s not a big deal to me.”

“It doesn’t really affect me, because I don’t drink and I don’t live on campus,” said Kelsey Thrasher, freshman, Pre-Vet. major. “But I think it’s a good thing to have.”

“I think it’s a good thing to have because there are a lot of minors on campus,” Robin Gilbert, freshman secondary English education major, said. “Everything is fair. People who are of age are not, like, yay, I can drink. Everybody can’t drink, so it is fair.”

Kennedy said that drinking regularly is not a good plan for someone who is attending college.

People who drink a lot of alcohol can’t be expected to be responsible,” he said. “That’s just the nature of it. To expect people to be responsible when their drinking is unrealistic. They don’t have the capacity to be responsible after drinking.”

Kennedy said that the allure of alcohol for college students may be curiosity.

“Society has not allowed them to drink,” he said “Anything your not allowed to do, you are curious about. And so, it’s the first time these kids are away from home, they don’t have anyone telling them what they can’t do, and so they try it. Sometimes they are doing it because they can.”

Carnahan’s opinion is the complete opposite of Kennedy’s.

“We grow up in a culture where everyone drinks,” said Carnahan. “It is there. And it’s not going to go away. No matter how many alcohol education programs we put out we’re still going to have people who choose to go drink. That’s the way it is, and I don’t think it’s going to change.

But I still think we need to plug along and get information out and help those who need help, and still provide counselling opportunities.”

Though the campus is dry, both Carnahan and Kennedy are realistic about the occurrence of alcohol violations on campus.

“We know we still have students who bring alcohol in their rooms and drink on campus,” said Carnahan. “We aren’t creeping around with our ears up to the doors and trying to nail people. But when we stumble across it and we’re aware of it we act on it.”

“Under age drinkers are handled like people who are over 21,” said Kennedy. “Right now we are not notifying the police department to come out and cite them with a criminal violation. They are cited with an administrative violation. And if someone is drinking, even if they are over 21, it’s probably safer for them to stay at a friend’s house if they don’t want to get caught.”