By Lea Shores
Students going out on the town for a good time on the weekends should remember the slogan “Over the Limit, Under Arrest”.
Winfield police are participating in a state-wide effort to crack down on driving under the influence for the rest of the year. Frank Owens, Lieutenant Investigator for the Winfield Police Department, said, “Extra officers are going to be out patrolling for the next few weeks.”
According to Owens, punishments for a DUI are on a sliding scale. “On your first offense you can lose your license for up to a year and face up to a year of probation or jail time,” he says.
After the fourth offense, a person’s license is suspended for life, as well as other more severe punishments.
In addition to cracking down on DUIs, the police also have zero tolerance for minors under the influence of alcohol.
“We patrol [for parties] on certain weekends,” cautions Owens. “If we catch wind of any parties, there will be extra surveillance.”
The first offense for a minor in consumption consists of a $270 fine and 30-day license suspension.
The college does not find out about students who get in trouble until the report is in the paper, but there is no extra punishment added by the school. “We have care and concern in mind for the student,” said Dan Falk, Dean of Students.
Though not in trouble with the school, athletes may face additional punishment from their coach.
Students who receive a DUI or MIC will be contacted by the school to make sure they have notified their parents and are able to afford any fines incurred.
Tanner Seidel, music sophomore, has mixed feelings about the city’s approach to drinking. “I do think that driving under the influence is unacceptable,” said Seidel. “There’s nothing wrong with a good time though.”
Anyone looking to avoid the police and have a good time on campus should remember the school’s alcohol policy. Getting caught with alcohol anywhere on campus is labeled a level two violation.
“If we see the alcohol or if it’s really loud we have the right to knock,” said Falk.
If a resident advisor has reason to suspect someone has alcohol in their room, they will report it to the resident director on duty who will report to Falk and Sarah Hallinan, Assistant Dean of Students.
If suspected to have alcohol, the student will meet with Scott Rethorst, Student Government Association Conduct Advisor. They may either admit to having alcohol or ask for a hearing.
If it is decided that a student was likely to have alcohol on campus, or if the student admitted to it, they are given a sanction by the college and are unable to live in an apartment for two semesters.
There is occasional grumbling from students about living on a dry campus but Seidel doesn’t think the punishment is too harsh for the crime. “The punishment is the school’s business,” he said. “They write the housing contracts and we sign them, agreeing to their rules.”
Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.