Wednesday, September 18

Students party at own risk


On-campus residents should know housing code of conduct, especially when alcohol is involved

Grilling meat and casually drinking, a third-year student and his friends blew off steam atop Rieber dining hall.

At the risk of being caught by residential assistants ““ if not by UCPD officers ““ many students who live on the Hill, like the then-first-year civil engineering student who described the scene above but declined to give his name to maintain his privacy, drink socially in their dorm rooms despite the perils of such actions.

“We had the Foreman (grill) going, so there were burgers and steaks, and of course there was some drinking going on,” said the student who lived on the second floor of Rieber Hall’s south wing from fall 2005 to spring 2006.

“It was me and my neighbor. We just popped our screens out and went onto the roof. There were about 10 or 15 people there total,” he added.

The UCLA Office of Residential Life outlines its policies for appropriate resident behavior in its On Campus Housing Regulations, which are published, among other places, on their Web site. In addition, any violations of the UCLA Student Conduct Code ““ a body of laws and regulations authorized by the university itself ““ by residents on the Hill are overseen by ORL, said Suzanne Seplow, director of ORL.

Christine Coons, the ORL judicial affairs coordinator, said that repeated offenders of On Campus Housing Regulations and students who violate the conduct code while living on campus fall under her jurisdiction.

The university and ORL devote time to educating students on safe use of alcohol. Every first-year and transfer student is required to enroll in and complete the online courses of AlcoholEdu for College, Seplow said.

“This is an initial way to get information out to students. It’s a great way to give students broad-based information about alcohol,” she said.

Other resources are available to students with information on responsible alcohol use.

“There are bulletin boards on alcohol use and being responsible, and we get flyers from everywhere,” Seplow said, adding that ORL designs programs around safety education and works closely with campus experts on alcohol use.

RAs are responsible for the documentation of violations of ORL policy. Specifically with regard to alcohol. If alcohol can be seen, heard or smelled in any capacity, an RA has the right to investigate and record their findings, said Seplow, adding that RAs are not allowed to search rooms.

Melissa Eelkema, a fifth-year psychobiology student who worked as an RA in Hedrick Hall between 2005 and 2007 said it is the policy of ORL that, because UCLA is a dry campus, no drinking should be allowed in residence halls.

“It makes sense,” she said, adding that “most RAs drink, (off campus) themselves. The general belief is, as long as you’re responsible, it’s all right.”

Eelkema said it was not uncommon for her own residents to run into her at off-campus parties. “It’s really not awkward so much as funny,” she said.

To date, this fall has seen the processing of 60 alcohol violations, 32 of which have been reports of alcohol in a residential hall room and 25 of which have been cases in which a student has been intoxicated to such a point that they are incapable of caring for themselves, said Seplow.

Documented violations of housing regulations are processed through ORL and involve a meeting with the resident director. Each case is overseen by the resident director of the residence in which the offense was committed, and it is the role of this individual to administer a fair punishment, Seplow said.

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