There has been a surge in write-ups for alcohol violations this fall according to Judy Johnson, the director of the Office of Student Conduct. The university has had a modern alcohol policy since 1987, but it seems now that it is more strictly enforced than ever before. The university may not have formally overhauled the judicial system and implemented a harsher write-up policy, but empirical evidence suggests that something has changed. Furthermore, my frustration – and that of many other students – stems not only from the strictness of the policy, but also the arbitrary manner in which it has been executed.

Recent examples shed more light on the issue. A group of four boys was written up at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night for having three beers in their apartment, two of which were empty. Students are technically allowed to have two empty alcohol containers in their apartments at any one time. So, four boys were written up for having one beer and playing FIFA on the couch.

Four people in an apartment with one open container is not an occurrence I would categorize as write-up worthy, but unfortunately, with such an arbitrary system in place, these boys simply got unlucky. With one window open and some music playing, it was not even worthy of a noise violation because it was before weekend quiet hours began. Maybe, at worst, it deserved a warning, but a resident assistant can be very lenient or strict depending on his or her own personal discretion. This randomly puts certain students at higher risks than others, which is completely unfair.

The university has an alcohol policy, as it should, but it is utterly unnecessary to so strictly and unreasonably enforce it. A party of 50 people, with the windows open, music blasting and tubs of jungle juice for the taking may go overlooked while a group of roommates with one beer will get kicked out of their housing and placed on disciplinary probation after a second offense. The consequences are so varying and vague that there is little consistency or fairness in the disciplinary process.

According to the 2010-2011 Code of Student Conduct, “repeated incidences of violations committed over a relatively short period of time will result in more severe sanctions.” What is a relatively short period of time? This could be a semester, a year or your entire tenure at Georgetown, depending on how you interpret the term relatively. Are incidences, like the aforementioned case, that occur 10 months apart considered relatively close? What exactly are these more severe sanctions?

The range of these terms can make miniscule incidents turn into debacles that jeopardize not only college careers, but also academic and professional futures beyond the Hilltop. Lastly, it is pure luck of the draw when it comes to RAs, which only exacerbates the already subjective system that is in place.

I love this place, but this is a huge downfall of such an amazing institution and negatively affects the lives of students. Hard-working students can see their Georgetown lives irrevocably altered because of a flawed interpretation of the alcohol policy.

When the university revised its alcohol policy in 2007, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson was quoted in THE HOYA (“Alcohol Policy Discussed at Town Hall”, Oct. 5, 2010, A5) saying, “We do not want this to be a campus that is hostile to student social life.” Yet, this is exactly what has happened. This is college, not high school. I ask this of you Georgetown: Be fair and do not create a student body fueled by fear and resentment of a system that seems to have gone awry.

Kelly Bonilla is a sophomore in the College.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*