By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Editor in Chief
Before the 2008-09 school year, it was against university policy for any ACU student – 21 or older – to possess, consume or distribute alcoholic beverages off campus.
All that changed when university officials reexamined and amended the ACU Alcohol policy so all students of legal drinking age could now have a sip of beer off campus without looking over their shoulders.
“I think it shows that ACU trusts their students more,” said Sara Potter, senior PR-Advertising major from Fort Worth. Potter added she saw no conflict with her faith and having a glass of wine with her dinner. “I can claim to be a Christian and I can claim to enjoy alcohol.”
Jean-Noel Thompson, vice president and Dean of Student Life, said the office of Student Life would take an active role in making sure students of all ages know the dangers of alcohol and will encourage students to make “Godly” decisions.
“We hope that all decisions they make will honor God,” Thompson said.
The language of the new policy clearly furthers ACU’s desire to maintain an alcohol-free campus. Anyone caught consuming, possessing or under the influence of alcohol on campus, at a student organization event or at a University sponsored event is subject to one or a combination of sanctions.
In addition to a fine ranging from $100-250, violators may have to attend an alcohol education program, counseling, may be placed on disciplinary probation or be indefinitely suspended.
“The ACU community cares deeply about the health and safety of our students, and is committed to educating students about the physical and spiritual dangers of alcohol abuse,” the policy reads. “ACU . discourages students from attending establishments such as dance clubs, bars and private parties where the principal purpose is known to be the sale and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages.”
But the policy change is no reason to throw a block party; alcohol-related disturbances by ACU students off campus may face disciplinary action if students cause a disturbance or are charged with an alcohol related crime, according to the policy.
“I’m OK with having a dry campus but I feel students should have the freedom to buy alcohol if you’re of age,” said Emily Taege, Art and Spanish Major from Lincoln, Neb.
Even though Thompson said he is “confident” the new policy is here to stay, he said anything is possible, and the policy can be changed in the future.
“I’m going to be honest with you, you have to step back after you make changes and look at ways to improve upon it,” Thompson said.