For at least a decade, Elizabethtown College has been a wet campus in a rural setting. When applying for colleges, the idea of attending a wet versus a dry campus was mixed into my consideration.
I wanted to go to a safe institution, one with a good but restrictive policy for those who dabble outside of the acceptable realm of drug and alcohol usage. Fortunately, Etown provided me with just that: a safe, wet campus with a controlled alcohol policy.
So, what is a wet campus and what is a dry one? In general, a dry campus is a college or university that allows no alcohol to any of its students, even those over the legal drinking age.
On the other hand, a wet campus is a college or university that allows its of age students to possess alcohol on school property.
Naturally, every school is different. Some will be completely dry campuses while others will be dry but allow students of age to drink outside of school grounds. And some will be completely wet campuses, while some will be wet, but will limit legal student usage to certain parameter. Etown is the latter.
According to the 2016-2017 Elizabethtown College Student Handbook, “Individuals 21 years of age or older may possess alcohol for their personal use in their own living space.”
The Student Handbook then states that the maximum quantity of alcohol allowed within one college housing unit is no more than one six-pack of beer, one liter of wine, one four-pack of wine coolers or one pint of distilled alcohol per resident of legal drinking age.
Additional school policies and regulations are numerically listed in the “Alcohol and Other Drug Policies (AOD)” section of the student handbook.
In addition to outlining what you can and cannot do in regards to the College’s AOD, the Student Handbook also includes a “Student Code of Conduct” section, which describes all the punishable offenses, along with their consequences in a grid-like formation.
The grid is based on examples of common school violations, with different variants of educational sanctions that would follow. This grid incorporates both underage and overage offenses.
According to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities Dr. Susan Asbury, each case is taken into a different consideration.
“With each case, we consider the amount of alcohol involved, whether this is a first or subsequent offense and the student’s circumstances,” she said.
For example, let’s say a student has an illegal possession of a small quantity of alcohol.
Following the grid, that student would potentially get a formal warning followed by one of three possible educational sanctions and a notification to the athletic director if the student were involved in any college athletics.
Additional violations and subsequent consequences are listed in the “Student Code of Conduct” section of the Student Handbook. Within this section, the Student Handbook also covers the College’s Amnesty Provision.
The Amnesty Provision indicates that in a situation of medical emergency, students should activate an Amnesty response by calling Campus Security, caring for the individual(s) experiencing the emergency and cooperating with any emergency response teams and Campus Security. Student(s) who follow the “call, care, cooperate” plan can be granted amnesty.
In partner with the College’s Student Handbook and personal rules for alcohol usage on campus, Etown students are also subjected to the Elizabethtown Borough and Pennsylvania state laws as well.
The overall purpose of the Student Handbook and the detailed rules and restrictions regarding alcohol and drug use is to keep us, as students, as safe as possible.
Director of Campus Security Andrew Powell stated that “for the large annual events like Homecoming, TGIS and graduation, we do have more staff on duty.”
Therefore, for the bigger events on campus, Campus Security adds more staff members to ensure overall safety.
“We want students to have an environment that supports the safety and health of individuals,” Asbury added.
In response to the question of whether or not Etown should remain a wet campus or start to transition into a dry one, I feel we should keep things the way they are.
The College’s goal is to keep students in nonthreatening positions while affording us the opportunity to be responsible adults at the same time.
“I appreciate that Etown allows students to make responsible decisions in a safe environment,” Asbury said.