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Drunk in the dorms: should 21+ be allowed?

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Getty Images photo by Flashpop.

Rayanne Painter

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As strict as the alcohol and drug policies are for Chico State’s on-campus housing, you’d think that residents would take them at least a little seriously. But when I lived in the residence halls, some people had vodka labels blatantly taped to the back of their doors and the empty half of a double room converted into a “stoner lounge.”

My point here is, college students drink and smoke. No matter what guidelines and rules are in place, people will sneak around them and do what they want. This is especially true when resident advisers and building supervisors often ignore the laughter and music behind closed doors, as long as festivities are kept to a reasonable level. But given extreme or unlucky circumstances, the bottom line is you will get in trouble for being in the possession of alcohol or drugs.

The abundance of party culture in the dorms alludes to the fact that most of the residents are first year and most likely 17 or 18 years old. Alcohol being prohibited in the halls may be an indirect reason for not many second, third or fourth years wanting to live in student housing. What 21-year-old wants to live in a dorm where they can’t even drink legally, plus being under possible legal trouble if caught in the presence of a minor consuming alcohol or drugs?

A solution to this would be to allow residents 21 and over to have and drink alcohol in their rooms, without minors present, of course. I would imagine that this freedom might encourage older students to stay in the residence halls, and the number of brand new college students would be a bit more spread out.

This type of policy isn’t exactly common, but it is out there. When I was originally looking for a college to attend, I took a tour around University of Nevada, Reno. In their residence halls, there are certain floors in a few buildings that allow students who are over 21, and their of-age guests, to possess and drink alcohol with the door shut.

There might be concern that a policy like this encourages college-aged drinking, which is a valid reason that the administration has probably pondered. According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 1,800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries and 696,000 students are assaulted by other students who have been drinking. These statistics pair with the prevalence of Chico State, in particular, being known as a “party school” makes this a touchy topic.

But, having more older students among the hundreds of first years in the dorms might help alcohol-related issues more than extra alcohol in the dorms hurts those statistics. I’m not sure if I exactly endorse the idea, but it might be something worth looking into.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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Drunk in the dorms: should 21+ be allowed?