Residence halls to sober up

Students caught drinking in UND housing will be seeing more than RAs at their doors.

Source: UND Student Health and Wellness Highlights 2012

Changes in university protocol regarding alcohol in the residence halls and campus apartments mean students will now see the University Police Department handle these issues instead of resident assistants.

The protocol change came from a joint decision by UND Housing, UPD and the Office of Student Services, after the university requested campus housing more consistently follow UND policies regarding alcohol on campus.

“What we have found is that anywhere else on campus — like on the street, parking lot or houses in the campus community — alcohol is typically addressed by UPD,” Residence Life and Educator Director Cindy Spencer said.

Prior to the changes, if alcohol was found in residence halls or in campus apartments, resident assistants would document the incident and ask the students to dispose of the alcohol by dumping the remnants into the sink.

As of two weeks ago, if alcohol is found, resident assistants must call the police to deal with the matter.

“We found that folks felt like if you were in the residence hall, nothing happens to you legally,” Spencer said. “That was one of the reasons we looked at that and were asked to be consistent. But more importantly, we feel like the resident assistants are not there to be police — they are there to build a community and be a resource for students.”

Spencer said resident assistants will appreciate this change because, as a student, it can be difficult for the resident assistants to confront their peers about alcohol.

Spencer has no data on if the protocol change has resulted in less alcohol-related incidents in the residence halls and campus housing because the change is so recent. However, both said she and UPD Chief of Police Eric Plummer hope it will help deter such occurrences.

“We are confident that this cooperation between the University Police Department and our partners in University Housing will reduce the number of incidents of alcohol abuse on campus,” Plummer said.

UND student Cole Holter said he thinks this change will stop people from bringing alcohol in the residence halls because nobody wants to deal with the police.

“I think it’s a little too far,” Holter said. “I could see calling the police the second time and just getting written up the first time.”

The new policy has also created new work for UPD.

“This has increased the number of calls for service for the University Police Department,” Plummer said. “However, this increase is aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and the medical incidents that result from this behavior.  The ultimate goal is to save lives.”

Ashley Marquis is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at