Decrease in residence alcohol use after ban

Three years after the University imposed an alcohol ban, students are consuming less alcohol in residence

Alcohol violations in residences during orientation week dropped this year.
Alcohol violations in residences during orientation week dropped this year.

In-residence alcohol violations during Orientation Week have decreased since last year.

This comes as the residences alcohol ban continues into its third year. The dry policy, that bans alcohol from residences during Orientation Week, lasts until the first day of classes.

According to the department of Student Affairs, there were 298 level one alcohol violations during this week’s overall, a decrease from 383 last year.

Level one alcohol violations include underage drinking, open alcohol and possession of beer bottles.

Residence dons gave out 18 documentations for underage drinking, 114 for open alcohol and three for possession of beer bottles.

This represents a decrease from last year, when there were 46 write-ups for underage alcohol, 134 for open alcohol and seven for possession of beer bottles.

However, Arig Girgrah, the assistant dean of student affairs, said these changes are fairly negligible in the context of the residence population.

According to Girgrah, underage alcohol violations decreased from 1.1 per cent to 0.4 per cent of the student population, which are already tiny segments of the student body.

Similarly, open alcohol violations fell from 0.2 per cent to 0.1 per cent and open alcohol from 3.3 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

“We can look at little blips here and there, but overall they are not significant differences,” she said.

Overall alcohol documentations have remained unchanged for the most part since the alcohol ban was implemented in 2011, she said.

According to Girgrah, an orientation and transition survey conducted in residences each November provides a better measure of drinking culture in residences.

“Some of the most significant results were less pressure to drink,” she said. “We’re trying to get at students’ perception and sense of inclusion.”

Girgrah said the administration saw improvements in survey results after the ban was implemented.

The Campus Observation Room (COR) ran from Sept. 2 to Sept. 7 during Orientation Week, and admitted 27 students during that time. Six other students used its services without being admitted.

Last year, they admitted 36 students with 41 students using COR services overall.

Kate Humphrys, health promotion coordinator at Health, Counseling and Disability Services (HCDS), said some students were sent to the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) emergency room for treatment.

However, she said she doesn’t know if it was for alcohol poisoning.

COR volunteers and staff call KGH if there is a problem, she said, since they can’t make a diagnosis themselves.

Humphrys said the numbers of students admitted to the COR haven’t indicated any significant trends, and are unlikely to change considerably in the near future.

“In my perspective, there are always going to be students who require COR services,” she said.

Humphrys said there may have been a slight decrease in admissions to the COR after the alcohol ban, but not enough to make any conclusions.

Steve Koopman, media relations officer at the Kingston Police Force, said the police also gave out fewer tickets during Frosh Week than they did last year.

He said police gave out 10 tickets for open alcohol or underage drinking on Friday of Orientation Week, while there were 25 tickets given out on the same Friday last year.

In addition, he said, there were no keg party busts that night, while there were four busts last year.

There were only 21 tickets given out last Saturday night, he said, down from 27 tickets given out on Saturday night last year.

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