A dry campus isn’t keeping Dixie State University students any safer.
Living in northern Utah, I remember all throughout high school, people referred to DSU as a party school. Even the recruitment video DSU ambassadors showed on college day displayed students doing everything but attending class.
As high school graduation approached I decided DSU was the best place for me despite the party school reputation.
During my first semester, I realized that DSU was not the party school so many said it was.
First, DSU is a dry campus, meaning alcohol is banned on school grounds. Second, there is nowhere off campus for stressed students to go out and have a drink while having fun with their friends.
If DSU allowed alcohol, students would be in a much more controlled environment easily monitored by campus police. This would keep students closer to their rooms, so driving under the influence would be out of the picture. A wet campus would also help cut down on underage drinking, because students would be monitored more closely.
By declaring a wet campus, DSU could establish a sense of trust between the university and students, as well as decrease the amount of dangers presented with drinking unsupervised off campus.
According to a Harvard School of Public Health Study, about one in three public four-year colleges and universities ban alcohol on campus. The study found no difference in the number of binge drinkers at dry campuses and those with no alcohol ban.
Having a dry campus does not eliminate drinking; it only pushes it off campus or encourages students to drink in secret.
When alcohol consumption is pushed off campus, students are placed in situations harmful to their well-being. At house parties, peer pressure can lead to binge drinking, and the secluded areas left unattended give space for sexual assault.
According to DSU enrollment data, the average age of a student at DSU is 24 years old, which is clearly over legal drinking age. Yet there is only one bar in St. George, rightfully named the One and Only. Because DSU is a dry campus, this is the only place, other than at a house party or a restaurant, for students to turn when they want to go out to drink.
“[The One and Only] is like a biker bar,” said Missy Parry, a junior media studies major from Highland. “If you fit that scene, that’s fine, but I don’t fit that. I want to hang out with fellow college students at a more neutral scene.”
Parry said she enjoys going out to have a couple drinks in a setting where she feels safe, but is still able to dance and have fun. At a house party, there are closed doors and alcohol in the same area, which Parry said makes her uncomfortable. Parry said she feels much safer when drinking in a public area where she knows there is security and where people monitor the amount of alcohol being consumed.
Whether you drink alcohol or not is a personal choice, but those who do choose to drink should not have to hide behind closed doors.