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UI policy could have consequences for off-campus drinking

BY KATHRYN STINSON | NOVEMBER 13, 2009 7:20 AM

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Repercussions for the PAULA you get downtown may not be limited to city fines in the future.

UI administrators are working to expand the university’s disciplinary authority to off-campus misconduct.

“We know a great deal of what gets our students in to trouble happens downtown and in off-campus apartments,” said Tom Rocklin, the interim UI vice president for Student Services.

The proposed revisions to the university’s policy are still under review and are being discussed with legal counsel, he said.

According to the university’s current Code of Student Life, university sanctions cannot be issued in alcohol cases that occur off-campus.

The university can only punish students for consuming alcohol on campus grounds, in UI buildings, and at off-campus university-sponsored events.

If disciplinary actions were applied to cases outside university boundaries, students would be faced with alcohol citations as well as UI penalties.

The university currently has a two-strike policy, Rocklin said, which involves a written warning, probation, and mandatory substance-abuse evaluations.

Repeated violations could result in a potential suspension or university expulsion.

No consequences have been determined for off-campus violations yet, officials said.

Student Services leaders have been interested in extending university disciplinary capabilities to off-campus cases for years, even before Rocklin was hired last year.

“It’s a matter of resources that has stopped us in the past,” he said.

But resources have expanded. The UI hired an additional employee to process complaints at the Office for Student Services, and more UI police officers are patrolling downtown.

Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, said his officers are assisting the Iowa City police with downtown patrols.

“The best outcome in regards to student safety will come if we are not confined to the campus area,” he said.

The current suggested policy stems from the Partnership for Alcohol Safety, a joint project between the UI and Iowa City to address issues related to alcohol use, especially among young people.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said this is one of many steps that needs to be taken to break down the unsafe, underage drinking culture at the university.

“In and of itself, this policy is not effective,” he said. “It must be taken along with other measures.”

Officials will not take any additional steps or have any specifics on the revisions until legal counsel completes its review, Moore said.

Rocklin said he hopes to have a policy drafted and ready to start discussion by the end of the semester.

“A policy that expands beyond the border of our campus has the potential to help address community concerns,” he said. “It also has the potential to get more students to effective education and treatment programs, and thereby improve their safety.”


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