University, police plan booze crackdown for September
Friday, August 20, 20104 Comments
Orientation Week helps introduce new students to the many facets of life at the University of Guelph.
But students hoping they’ll be introduced to Alexander Keith, Captain Morgan or Jim Beam during their first week in residence will have to wait a little while longer.
In a letter sent out to incoming students, the University announced that RLS will be enforcing a no drinking rule in all residences for the duration of O-Week.
Irene Thompson, Manager of Student Housing Services, told thecannon the move was part of a multi-pronged approach encouraging newcomers to make wise choices around alcohol consumption.
“There are a lot of pressures facing new students,” Thompson said. “They don’t know a lot of people and they’ve got this image of what university is supposed to be like. The image is that you go out and drink a lot.”
In fact, about 70 per cent of incoming students are not of legal drinking age, Thompson pointed out, making it a good idea to be “proactive” and “protective” of young persons on campus.
The alcohol monitoring will start while students are unpacking their belongings alongside O-Week’s hundreds of move-in volunteers.
“If we see people with alcohol during the move-in process, we’ll ask that they send it back with their parents,” Thompson says.
Students will also be discouraged from going to downtown bars during their first week, she said. Instead, they’ll be directed toward Orientation activities, which are all dry.
Orientation Week coordinators did no return thecannon’s requests for comment.
The primary purpose of the alcohol ban in resident is educating students about responsible drinking, not issuing citations, explained Lara Hof, Community Standards Officer at the University of Guelph,
“If students are not making the correct choices around alcohol consumption in residence, we’re going to have that conversation with them,” Hof said.
Students identified as having problematic drinking behaviours will be directed towards new programs adopted by the University, including ECHUG (Electronic Check-Up to Go), an online alcohol educational program created by San Diego State University.
Even if students make their way downtown to party, they’re not home free. Starting September 9, Guelph Police will be adopting a zero-tolerance stance toward drinking-related offenses as part of their Action Plan for Alcohol Related Crime and Disorder Problems in Downtown Guelph
A press release from Guelph Police said the start of the fall coincides with “a marked increase of public drunkenness, the sale and/or service of alcohol to intoxicated patrons, service to minors and disorderly conduct such as fights, assaults and general nuisance.”
For the next month, police will be issuing tickets for some of a half dozen common drinking-related problems.
A fine for public urination or littering can earn the perpetrator a fine of $365, while being caught with open alcohol, drinking under age or using a fake ID will set you back $125.
To top it all off, you can be fined an additional $65 for being drunk in public.
Guelph Police spokesperson Sergeant Doug Pflug told The Guelph Mercury that bar goers are being given fair warning that the rules apply to everyone.
“If we just started going downtown and handing out tickets without warning, students may feel targeted or picked on. That’s why we give them the education portion of this plan, to tell them why we’re doing it and what the consequences are,” Pflug said. “It extends beyond just the student population. Anyone who comes downtown and breaks the law needs to be aware we have zero tolerance.”