Our View: Include students in dry campus policy discussions

The dry campus policy has been at the forefront of discussions concerning Student Affairs’ policy recently. Truman State University is a dry campus, meaning alcohol is not allowed anywhere on campus, except where special permissions have been granted, such as tailgating events. Student Government is working on policy encouraging action to change the current dry campus policy and the Student Affairs Office is in the process of assembling a committee to explore campus sentiment on the subject. Truman’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty hosted multiple events centered around the topic, including a “Storm the Student Affairs Office” Facebook event, free root beer on The Quad, and even creating a petition for students to sign in support of dissolving the dry campus policy. 

We, The Index Editorial Board, believe there needs to be a large and public discussion about the University’s alcohol policy, maybe in the form of a forum, where many different voices can be heard. Whether students agree or disagree with the dry campus policy, they should be able to express those views with other students and University policy makers. Student input is important in matters that affect students, like this issue. 

This is a complicated topic to consider because there are a number of different factors to give thought to. According to the Annual Security and Fire Report published by the Department of Public Safety, there were only 12 liquor law arrests on campus last year. This seems to be an unusually low number considering there were about 5,550 students enrolled last year. Students and University administration should examine whether or not the dry campus policy is being enforced well, and if not, why it is in place. 

There are also a number of potential policies to consider, such as making the campus or specific residence halls partially dry, or allowing students 21 years old or older the ability to consume alcohol within their living area. 

We, The Index Editorial Board, encourage students to thoroughly think through this policy. What kind of implications a policy change like this can have and how it can be worked into the campus culture are important questions to find answers to. We also think the discussion surrounding the policy should be more accessible for input. Sidewalk chalkings and selective committees might not be the best approach to creating open dialogue around a topic that can have a large effect on campus atmosphere.