Concerned about alcohol abuse by students, the University of Moncton has developed its first alcohol policy for all three of its campuses, requiring events where there is drinking to abide by the New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act.
The requirement applies to campus bars and to all other activities involving alcohol consumption, including orientation activities for new students.
The policy goes into effect with the start of the coming school year.
People who violate the policy can be fined, evicted from residence or banned from campus, among other penalties.
“The overall goal is to ensure the well-being and safety of our students as well as the overall university community,” said Marc Angers, director of communications with the university.
The policy was created to try to eliminate excessive drinking at the university.
‘It really pushes us to act on this and create this culture of consent.’ –Tristian Gaudet, Federation of Students at U de M
“We have to take responsibility on this and make sure that this issue is dealt with,” Angers said.
“It’s important to promote responsible consumption of alcohol.”
The university has designated officers to enforce the policy at campuses in Edmundston, Moncton and Shippagan. They’ve already started trying to raise awareness, Angers said.
For violations of the policy, penalties can also include:
- Forwarding complaints to police or other authorities.
- Refusal of admission to any campus bars or campus lounges.
- Suspension from all privileges related to events with alcohol.
Students at the legal drinking age, 19, are still allowed to drink on campus during orientation week.
“Alcohol drinking is legal in Canada if you’re over 19, we recognize that,” Angers said.
“[But] we understand the risk with alcohol consumption.”
What other students are doing
St. Thomas University in Frederictron banned alcohol from its Welcome Week more than 10 years ago and the ban extends to student leaders and volunteers.
Scott Duguay, associate vice-president for enrolment management, said the university is now working with students on a broader drinking policy
“We all want the same thing: no alcohol harms to students,” he said.
Dalhousie University in Halifax banned booze from residences during orientation week this year but said it will rely on education, not punishment, to encourage first-year and other incoming students to make better decisions about alcohol.
Tristian Gaudet, the president of the Federation of Students at the University of Moncton, said he doesn’t feel binge drinking is a problem at the university but he supports the new policy.
“We’re definitely in favour of responsible drinking, it’s something that we take very seriously,” said Gaudet, who was consulted during the creation of the alcohhol policy.
“This policy was something that was needed on campus to really enforce responsible drinking … they are adults and we need to act as adults.”
A culture of consent
Last week, the federation also launched a sexual awareness campaign on sexual consent, which will include activities that enforce a safe and secure environment.
Student groups will also be posting information on social media sites.
In the first eight weeks of university, Gaudet said, first-year students are more vulnerable to sexual violence. In Canada, he said, about 50 per cent of sexual violence happens when alcohol or other substances are involved.
“This enforced even more the responsibility of having responsible drinking and having this awareness around drinking,” he said.
”It really pushes us to act on this and create this culture of consent.”