New drinking policy adopted in Buxton Hall

by Allison UllmannStaff Writer

A new policy has made a previously substance-free Buxton Hall “conditionally wet.”

“Residents of Buxton that are 21 and have had a one-on-one meeting with myself may consume alcohol in their room,” said Luke Behaunek, area coordinator for Buxton, Picken and the theme houses. “They can also consume alcohol in other residents’ rooms that have met with me and may have guests that are 21, but they take responsibility for guests that aren’t Buxton residents.”

To be eligible to drink in Buxton, students who are of age must have a one-on-one meeting with Behaunek and sign a waiver stating they understand the rules.

“[We can] revoke the privileges if they fail to comply with the rules,” Behaunek said.

Students with this new privilege must obey certain guidlines. The students must not have open containers in the hallways and may only consume alcohol in their rooms. This is to ensure people who don’t want to be exposed to alcohol in Buxton will not be.

“[This is] not a right, it’s a privilege,” said Mandy Fox, director of residence life. “The students know if they violate it, the privilege will be revoked.”

Fox says that a group of juniors in Buxton were frustrated they didn’t make it into apartments and had to remain in a substance-free area. The students put together a petition and asked other Buxton residents turning 21 the following year to sign it.

“I simply wanted the rights of all 21-year-old students living in Buxton Hall to be the same as in any other junior resident on campus who is 21 years of age,” said junior Mack Worthington, one of the students who started the petition. “The new policy has accomplished its purpose and has transitioned smoothly with few problems.”

Worthington and junior Nick Vilmain presented the proposal to Fox and Stephanie Krauth, associate dean of students. Fox and Krauth understood their request and decided to work something out by the fall to change the policy. Behaunek and the Buxton Hall community advisors were responsible for the implementation of the rule.

“Residence Life has no real desire to prevent legally-aged students from drinking responsibly and legally,” Fox said. “This new policy is to accommodate those students.”

Of the 125 students living in Buxton, 36 will turn 21 by the end of the academic year. Nine students were 21 at the start of the semester, and a few more will be eligible under this policy each month. Each year, the rule will be revisited.

So far this year, there haven’t been any problems with the new policy.

“I think it’s been successful,” Behaunek said. “I think it’s actually decreased the amount of drinking in Buxton. Those people with privileges want to keep those privileges.”