Young Americans for Liberty pushes against dry campus policy

There has been a recent push for changing Truman State University’s dry campus policy with discussion from Young Americans for Liberty, the Student Affairs Office and Student Government.

Janna Stoskopf, vice president of student affairs, said Student Government has initiated discussion about reviewing the dry campus policy. Stoskopf said that she is also in the process of putting together a committee to gauge whether there is a desire for change, because just as there are students who would advocate for change in the alcohol policy, there are students who feel very strongly that one of the things they like is the dry campus policy.

Student Government President, Deanna Schmidt, said that Student Government passed a resolution last spring in regard to the dry campus policy, and there are three members of Student Government in Stoskopf’s committee. The resolution passed stated that Student Government supports that students 21 years and older should be able to drink on and off campus. The committee will also be made up of members of the Residence Hall Association and a few students.

“Student Government started to talk about this in the spring and we spent about a month or two discussing this resolution that we passed in the spring,” Schmidt said. “After lots of discussion our body was a little bit divided on logistical things, and then we decided it was administrations job to decide these things, but we will be with them every step of the way.”

Young Americans for Liberty is a nationwide organization that has chapters at campuses across the country. The Libertarian group brings political issues to students’ attention through different events and activities. YAL conducted a petition signing and gave out free root beer on The Quad last Thursday to help raise awareness of the dry campus policy issue. Naomi Mathew, Missouri State chair for YAL, said she is concerned that the current dry campus policy at Truman limits the freedom of students of legal drinking age.

“Truman State is a public campus funded by taxpayers,” Mathew said. “If we are being funded by taxpayers, we should be allowing the maximum freedom possible.”

Mathew said that the dry campus policy has good intentions, except for students 21 years or older that still live on campus and choose to drink, because they are required to look for other places to stay.

YAL also planned an event to storm the Student Affairs Office, a parody of the storm Area 51 Facebook event. Mathew said that this event was a way for students to become aware of the dry campus policy, and that YAL would go to the Student Affairs Office with their petition and express their thoughts about the policy. The storm Student Affairs event, however, did not happen. 

Stoskopf said that she was at the Student Affairs Office at the time of the event and that she was prepared for discussion with the YAL. She said she is happy to visit with them about their concerns.

“I’m always in favor of students having their voices heard. I advocate for that a lot,” Stoskopf said. “I think that as long as it’s done in a respectful way, they have the right to have their voices heard, and that’s what I want to give them an opportunity to do. We’re not coming at this from a prohibition standpoint, but instead the focus is really on helping people make good decisions, keep healthy habits and succeed academically.”

The Student Affairs Office was prepared, with Chad Whittom, assistant director of the department of public safety, at the office to make sure everything went smoothly.

“YAL and the other student leaders involved felt that we have already achieved what we set out to do,” Mathew said in a statement. “The main goal was not ‘storming’ any office, but rather bringing attention to the issue to other students. We felt like we succeeded in doing so and didn’t need to cause a large demonstration, that some had expressed concerns about.”