What happens if you get caught drinking in the dorms?

Dorm drinking is a well-documented occurrence on college campuses, but what happens if you get caught at ASU?

ASU is strictly a dry campus, if you get caught drinking or smoking in the dorms, the ASU Police Department may get involved. Here's a rundown of the Universities policies and what could happen if students get caught: 

University Policy

Ronald Briggs, assistant dean of students for the Downtown Phoenix campus, said community assistants assigned to their floor or on-duty shifts are permitted to check dorm rooms under reasonable suspicion of alcohol before any further actions are taken with ASUPD. 

Briggs said if there is a violation of the ASU code of conduct, an incident report is generated and a letter is sent out to the student from a staff member of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibility. 

CA's (Community Assistants) are primarily responsible for documenting the situation if a student is caught drinking alcohol in dorm rooms, according to University policy. The CA has the resident discard any alcoholic beverages while documenting the type and amount of alcohol as well as the students in the dorm room. Because the CA is responsible for taking down notes, they don't determine the student’s ultimate consequence.

Considering alcohol consumption on University property is handled on a case-by-case basis, Briggs said the consequences shift depending on the asperity of the situation.

“There are particular sanctions depending on what type of incident it is,” Briggs said. “It can range from something as simple as a warning to something more severe, possibly restitution, possibly education classes, possible suspension, expulsion. It all depends on how severe the situation is.”

When Police Get Involved

ASUPD Commander John Thompson said ASUPD will directly address an issue involving minors consuming alcohol if the situation appears fit.

“Generally speaking, officers have to establish reasonable suspicion to begin an investigation, then officers have to establish probable cause to take enforcement action,” Thompson said.

In 2015, the Tempe campus had 149 residential arrests and the Downtown Phoenix campus had just seven arrests, according to the Clery report. 

Thompson said an arrest typically results in a Class II misdemeanor, with the student being released with the signed citation in hand. If the citation is issued, a judge can rule a maximum punishment of four months in jail, a $750 fine and two years probation.

He mentioned, however, that if the student were at a level of intoxication that causes the officer concern, the fire department would assess the person and possibly transport them to the hospital.

“Overall, there is a big problem with binge-drinking among the present generation because of rapid consumption of large quantities of alcohol,” Thompson said. “Almost every university in the country is confronting the common problem of rapid consumption of alcohol in large quantities by students.” 

Put in to Practice

According to an ASU Clery report document, the Tempe campus had a total of 1,041 alcohol-related referrals in 2015, with the Downtown Phoenix campus following second with 93 referrals by students living on-campus. 

Although the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses have a major difference in their student body populations, both campuses maintain the same alcohol policy prohibiting guests and residents from consuming alcohol on ASU property.

Despite the West, Polytechnic and Lake Havasu City campuses attracting much smaller numbers, a referral can result in disciplinary action where information regarding alcohol consumption is given to the Dean’s Office for Administrative Action.

A Kinesiology sophomore said last year he was caught on the Downtown Phoenix campus for alcohol consumption in his dorm room after a noise complaint from a fellow resident. The then 18-year-old Taylor Place resident was referred to the Dean of Students, but was not given any of the consequences that he was expecting.

“The CA on Duty came in and got my name, but by then, all the alcohol was finished,” the student said. “(The CA) mostly gave me a warning and took some things down, like how many empty bottles there were.”

The student said he needed to complete a course on consent and safe drinking after the CA noted three empty liquor bottles in the dorm room. The course took him roughly 45 minutes to complete. However, he was never billed the $150 he was told he would have to pay for the course.

“In the end, nothing really happened," the student said. "I wasn’t really in jeopardy, so it didn’t really discourage me from drinking again."


Reach the reporter at rahmad4@asu.edu or follow @roxannaahmad97_ on Twitter.

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