As Homecoming Weekend slowly creeps closer, students have begun to get excited for the scheduled festivities that will be taking place on campus, like the carnival, Homecoming showcase and, especially, the big football game. However, there is one festivity that no current Montclair State students will be taking part in: drinking.
Since the beginning of the fall semester in 1984, Montclair State University has claimed to be a “dry campus,” meaning that there would be absolutely no alcohol on the main campus and residence halls.
As a consequence, students, for the past 30 years, have been unable to consume alcohol on main campus and in most residence halls. Those who dared to go against the rules have faced harsh disciplinary measures. For some students, disciplinary measures have been as devastating as expulsion.
No one would agree that expulsion is a fair response to adults legally drinking, as anyone over the age of 21 has the legal right to drink alcohol.
Yet, in order to be a student at Montclair State, young adults are forced to sign those rights away while on campus. It clearly does not seem to be a fair trade, as many other nearby universities have never required their students to do the same.
Montclair State says it has based its alcohol policy on two principles. The first is “the laws of the State of New Jersey” and the second is that “any consumption must occur within a social framework wherein beverages are not the focus of the event.”
These principles have allowed for a large amount of wiggle room. Montclair State’s “dry campus” rule, like with many others, has exceptions. For example, the Montclair State University: Alcohol Policy and Resource Guide states that “Alcohol is permitted only where all residents are of legal drinking age and where there are no guests who are not of legal drinking age and only inside the [Village at Little Falls Apartments].”
Another exception will take place just this weekend during which students will act as onlookers when alumni, who were students just months ago, throw some back at the Beer Garden event featured during the Homecoming Weekend.
With various exceptions, it is clear that Montclair State cannot be called a fully dry campus and their policies cannot be truly taken to heart. It is evident that Montclair State may just be a damp campus.
Quite honestly, the university’s alcohol policy is a bit much. Although the principles the policy is based on are made in good conscience, they are excessive. Of course it is important to enforce the law for anyone underage drinking, but people who are over 21 are not subject to the same alcohol laws as those who are under 21 and need to be treated thusly. All students cannot be placed in the same group based on their living arrangements.
The Village Apartments cannot house every student over the age of 21 who lives on campus. With that in mind, it is not fair to restrict the alcohol use of some students because there was no room for them at The Village Apartments.
Montclair State needs to grow up and learn to treat adults like adults. Students need to be able to make their own choices and learn from their mistakes without the school administration breathing down their necks. Montclair State University will probably never be the next big party school, but there is no reason to keep it as a self-proclaimed “dry campus” for students who can legally drink. Montclair State may not be a “dry campus,” but the university should make it official that it is a damp campus.