By Theresa King
(TEANECK) – The Metro campus touts itself as a dry campus, where possessing or consuming alcohol is prohibited on university property – even if the student is 21.
But FDU’s other New Jersey location, Florham, is a wet campus, complete with an on-campus bar, the Bottle Hill Pub.
However, the reasons as to why these differences in policy exist are hard for some students to swallow.
“Student A”, an anonymous Metro student, was fined for a violation of the campus’ alcohol rules.
“I was ned the rst time during room inspections,” Student A said. “The RA’s found an empty bottle of vodka on top of my dresser. The second time I was ned because my roommate posted a picture of a bottle, which had no label on it, on social media. That picture somehow ended up in the hands of Residence Life.”
The price to pay for violating campus rules comes out of pocket.
“The first time I was fined $200,” they said. “The second time was $250.”
But for another Metro resident, “Student B,” the consequences were more severe.
“I was only ned once my sophomore year,” Student B said. “It was for underage possession and/or consumption of alcohol, public intoxication, possession and/ or consumption in a dry area, and another alcohol incident. The bottles were never on me, I was simply on campus drunk and they had to call the ambulance. I had community service and had to take an alcohol awareness class.”
According to the Office of Residence Life, a student’s first alcohol violation results in a $200 fine and Alcohol Tutorial Level 1. The second violation results in a $250 fine, Alcohol Tutorial Level 2 and residence hall probation. For the third violation, a student pays a $300 fine, takes Alcohol Tutorial Level 3 and is removed from the residence halls.
WhileMetrowasn’talways a dry campus, Director of Public Safety David Miles said that alcohol was never allowed in residence halls, even when alcohol was not banned.
“Alcohol was never allowed in any of the Linden or University Courts Residence Halls,” Miles said. “Back when the university owned the apartments on Cedar Lane, alcohol was allowed in those if the students living in the apartment were over the legal age.”
Metro also had a full service bar where the Knight Club is now, which closed in the late 1980s/early 1990s, according to Miles.
“The reasons were simple,” he said. “The drinking age was 21, so less students were legally allowed to drink. In addition, there were many on campus incidents that occurred due to alcohol and we also received many complaints from area residents as individuals leaving late night/early morning were fighting, making noise and leaving trash on the streets. The potential for a serious incident occurring assisted in the decision of going dry.”
According to the Sept. 28, 1995 issue of The Equinox, the director of Student Life at the time the Knight Club closed, Wes Lucas, did not believe selling alcohol in the establishment was working out.
“We’ve been operating in the red for years,” Lucas said. “We just did not have the support of those 21 years and older.” He added that most resident students are under 21. “The Knight Club is in a bad location (in the Student Union Building). Perhaps if it was in the North Lot we would be able to draw in more commuters. Unfortunately, that is not the case.”
At Florham, alcohol is not permitted in the Florence and Hamilton Twombly Halls and the Village area. However, residents of Park Avenue and Rutherford Hall who are of legal drinking age may do so in their dormitories.
As for drinking outside of the dormitory and quantity limits, “Alcohol is not permitted in common areas unless everyone assigned to the suite is 21 or over,” the handbook states. “The quantity of alcohol is as follows: one bottle of no more than 750 ml. of distilled spirits or one bottle of no more than 750 ml. of wine or 12 12- oz. bottles or cans of beer.”
Miles said it’s a question of location.
“Florham is a gated campus and they do not empty out right on to area streets so they would not get the complaints from area residents like they would here,” Miles said. “The issues that were faced here could also be occurring at the Florham campus, but since each campus can have some di erences in policies, the Florham campus administration has made a decision to allow alcohol in certain Residence Halls as well as having a bar.”
Public Safety Officer Paul Griffin was not employed by the Metropolitan campus when it was “wet,” but has responded to 15 complaints involving alcohol in two years of being at the campus. Having seen alcohol-related incidents as a police officer, Griffin views Metro’s policies as beneficial for safety.
“As a police officer, I responded to many incidents of violence that were escalated by alcohol consumption,” he said. “Also, I had to respond to deaths by auto accidents caused by drunk drivers.”
However, Miles said that the number of the Metro campus’ alcohol-related incidents are much smaller in comparison to Florham, and issues Metro faced in the past with alcohol are almost nonexistent.
“The issues that we dealt with back in the 1980s to the 1990s with alcohol have almost been eliminated once we became a dry campus,” he said. “The numbers of reportable incidents that we are required to report on a yearly basis shows the big di erence between the two campuses. We must report any alcohol referrals we make for disciplinary reasons that are violations of the law, such as underage drinking. For calendar year 2015, Metro had 31 referrals and Florham had 104.”
According to FDU’s fact sheet, there are fewer than 700 resident students on the Metro campus, while at Florham there are about 1,500.
As for looking speci cally for alcohol in dorms, Miles said that it is not done unless there are special circumstances.
“We are not naïve and we know that there is alcohol on this campus,” he said, “and occasionally we do come across it in the Residence Halls and students are sanctioned. We do not go into rooms and search unless we are called due to noise complaints, unregistered guests, etc.”
Miles was asked about the possibility of Metro becoming a wet campus again.
“I have not been any part of any discussions regarding any policy change at the Metro campus,” Miles said. “What everyone has to remember is that the legal drinking age is 21, and since the majority of students are under the legal age, the change would only affect a small part of the student population.”