Thursday, February 16, 2012

New South Hall policy allows alcohol, co-eds

By Courtney Donlin, News Editor

Starting in fall 2012, South Hall will be a wet area of campus, notbecause of rain, but rather alcohol. Co-ed rooms will also be available, and there’s a new cancellation fee policy as well.

One of the new policy changes for South Hall on lower campus is that alcohol is permitted for residents who are of age and have taken an alcohol education class through Residential Life. This new policy will take place in the fall. Photo by Heather Perry.

South Hall, the apartment-style residence building, has updated its policies, according to an email from the Office of Residential Life Wednesday sent to students eligible to live in South Hall.

Alcohol possession and use

Arguably, the biggest change to the residence hall’s policy concerns alcohol possession and consumption. Formerly, alcohol was only allowed in certain university buildings: Gonyea House, University House, Resident Directors’ housing and during certain approved religious worship. Now, alcohol will be permitted for residents who are of age.

The updated alcohol policy in the 2012-2013 South Hall Housing Guide lists several strict conditions for the possession and use of alcohol. All roommates in a particular unit, along with all of their guests if any arepresent, must be at least 21 years old.

Additionally, “all residents of the unit must attend an alcohol education session,” according to the guide.

South Hall Community Assistant senior Jordan Blevins, who said he has not had trouble with students drinking in South Hall this academic year, said having to take the class and be aware of their own responsibility in terms of drinking is a good thing for residents.

“I think it might drive a lot of people who like the amenities to live in South, rather than off-campus,” Blevins said.

Although the policy allows alcohol, moderation is encouraged. The new policy prohibits large quantities of alcohol, activities or devices designed to promote drinking in excess and open containers of alcohol in common areas.

Some devices listed in the guide include beer bongs, kegs and drinking games. The guide defines large quantities of alcohol as “multiple cases of beer, wine or liquor, and stocked bars.”

The current alcohol policy will still apply to the rest of residence halls on campus.

“The university reserves the right to confiscate and dispose of alcoholic beverages and/or containers found on the premises,” the Student Code of Conduct reads. “Empty alcohol containers and brewing equipment are similarly prohibited.”

Likewise, students who are not of age and are present in an area with alcohol are expected to remove themselves from the situation.

Co-ed residents

Like the rest of Pacific Lutheran’s residence halls, roommates in South Hall were required to be same-sex. The only exception to this rule applied to married or domestic couples. Beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year, applicants’ sex will not be considered relevant in the application process, Executive Director of Residential Life Tom Huelsbeck said.

There will not be a set ratio of male-to-female residents in each unit, Huelsbeck said.

Blevins said he had trouble finding a roommate of the same sex in his own unit and that he thinks it will be easier for people to fill potential vacancies in their apartments next year.

Cancellation fees

The sexes of potential residents was not the only common problem. The process for dealing with roommate cancellations and the subsequent vacant rooms was “pretty complex,” Huelsbeck said.

If a student decided against living in South Hall after signing a housing contract, that student was responsible for paying the cancellation charge, but only for a certain period of time. After that period of time, if the room wasstill vacant, the cost fell to the remaining roommates.

“The idea that everybody is responsible for filling the apartment ended up being very problematic for a lot of people,” Huelsbeck said.

Beginning the 2012-2013 school year, the remaining roommates will not be responsible for paying the discrepancy. Instead, the person cancelling thecontract is still responsible for paying the fee.

If the remaining roommates can guarantee that they could not find a replacement roommate, they can either pay for the space or have Residential Life assign a new roommate.

“It’ll make it a little easier for the ones left behind,” Huelsbeck said.