University, police plan booze crackdown for September

Friday, August 20, 2010


Written by Greg Beneteau

Orientation Week helps introduce new students to the many facets of life at the University of Guelph.

But students hoping they’ll be introduced to Alexander Keith, Captain Morgan or Jim Beam during their first week in residence will have to wait a little while longer.

In a letter sent out to incoming students, the University announced that RLS will be enforcing a no drinking rule in all residences for the duration of O-Week.

Irene Thompson, Manager of Student Housing Services, told thecannon the move was part of a multi-pronged approach encouraging newcomers to make wise choices around alcohol consumption.

“There are a lot of pressures facing new students,” Thompson said. “They don’t know a lot of people and they’ve got this image of what university is supposed to be like. The image is that you go out and drink a lot.”

In fact, about 70 per cent of incoming students are not of legal drinking age, Thompson pointed out, making it a good idea to be “proactive” and “protective” of young persons on campus.

The alcohol monitoring will start while students are unpacking their belongings alongside O-Week’s hundreds of move-in volunteers.

“If we see people with alcohol during the move-in process, we’ll ask that they send it back with their parents,” Thompson says.

Students will also be discouraged from going to downtown bars during their first week, she said. Instead, they’ll be directed toward Orientation activities, which are all dry.

Orientation Week coordinators did no return thecannon’s requests for comment.

The primary purpose of the alcohol ban in resident is educating students about responsible drinking, not issuing citations, explained Lara Hof, Community Standards Officer at the University of Guelph,

“If students are not making the correct choices around alcohol consumption in residence, we’re going to have that conversation with them,” Hof said.

Students identified as having problematic drinking behaviours will be directed towards new programs adopted by the University, including ECHUG (Electronic Check-Up to Go), an online alcohol educational program created by San Diego State University.

Even if students make their way downtown to party, they’re not home free. Starting September 9, Guelph Police will be adopting a zero-tolerance stance toward drinking-related offenses as part of their Action Plan for Alcohol Related Crime and Disorder Problems in Downtown Guelph

A press release from Guelph Police said the start of the fall coincides with “a marked increase of public drunkenness, the sale and/or service of alcohol to intoxicated patrons, service to minors and disorderly conduct such as fights, assaults and general nuisance.”

For the next month, police will be issuing tickets for some of a half dozen common drinking-related problems.

A fine for public urination or littering can earn the perpetrator a fine of $365, while being caught with open alcohol, drinking under age or using a fake ID will set you back $125.

To top it all off, you can be fined an additional $65 for being drunk in public.

Guelph Police spokesperson Sergeant Doug Pflug told The Guelph Mercury that bar goers are being given fair warning that the rules apply to everyone.

“If we just started going downtown and handing out tickets without warning, students may feel targeted or picked on. That’s why we give them the education portion of this plan, to tell them why we’re doing it and what the consequences are,” Pflug said. “It extends beyond just the student population. Anyone who comes downtown and breaks the law needs to be aware we have zero tolerance.”


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  1. Posted by: KINGPIN on Aug 23, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    There are some people who dont know there limits, and there are some really stupid people out there who choose to ignore them, but dont punish everyone for the sake of trying to stop a few idiots. Besides a ban probably wont stop anyone anyway, the people who are getting blind drunk arent just going to stop because they are being told to. This would ruin frosh week for everyone, I have very fond memories of my frosh week with all my new friends and a bunch of liquid courage. I would hate it if people couldnt enjoy the same good times I had.

  2. Posted by: Cole Bonner on Aug 24, 2010 @ 4:34am

    This is definitely going way overboard to prevent problems relating to frosh week and drinking. Yes perhaps some disciplinary actions must be put in place in order to prevent the worst case scenarios, but to completely make frosh week "dry", could in its own way ruin the event. I had many great moments meeting new people and drinking a few pints, it's natural for people to do so in this day in age. In fact its been common for every generation to have social get-togethers that have had some sort of alcohol present. Completely eliminating alcohol from frosh week is far too extreme and it honestly wont make a difference. Students are going to find a way to drink. It is also not fair to the other 30% of the students who are legally allowed to consume alcohol. Will they be punished if they decide to go downtown or go to a friend's house outside of campus and come back under the influence (by cab or other forms of public transit of course)? Not to mention alcohol is a very good way to come over that barrier of insecurity when wanting to meet new people, when used responsibly of course. Those who decide to go that extra drink and get to the point where they have no control should be punished but don't let the majority that know their limits and can have a social drink without consequence be punished as well. Literally all that needs to be done is firmer action by the RLS and the problems should not persist. And lastly how does such a ban get passed like this? If this plan does go through as stated above my year will have been the last one to enjoy a drink during frosh week in Guelph (or as far as this ban has gone). why was a pole or survey not sent out to me asking my opinion of whether or not it seemed like a good idea? From the outside looking in it could look like a bunch of mindless drunk teenagers trying to drink their faces off but i actually know what it was like to be in that situation so doesn't a person like me have the best opinion? I expect many to express the same concern as i do.

  3. Posted by: on Aug 26, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    People need to make their own mistakes in order to learn. If someone tells you not to do something you are more likely to do it. Orientation week is a time to have fun and meet new people and if people want to drink in their own rooms they should be allowed to do so. Being so strict will just make things worse. Would you rather kids drinking in the safety of residence or wandering around outside somewhere drinking.

  4. Posted by: Jessica Voigt on Aug 28, 2010 @ 6:46pm

    This will not end well.

    The harder you push, the harder someone wants to push back. The university and the police are going to cause more trouble than they can deal with.

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