Drinking underage, drunk driving and sexual assault are all campus issues that college students know about. Students also know the consequences, but what most don’t know are that UWG’s on campus laws differ slightly from the state.
The university has a few separate laws than the state, but they don’t advertise them as much. Students come to school expecting the law to be one thing, but then get in trouble when they unknowingly do something wrong. The best course of action is for the university to educate students about these rules by having more seminars and informing students about the changes.
The campus follows the same laws as the state but some have been modified to fit UWG. These rules aren’t just for alcohol. There are policies regarding drugs, rape and even parents’ accessibility to student records. These rules aren’t widely known and are therefore tricky, causing unnecessary tickets and problems.
Though various groups on campus publicize information and hold seminars to teach students about these rules, students go on with their day to day lives, oblivious to procedures that could affect their future. These information sessions also tend to be few and far between.
Alcohol is a staple in college life. Parties are abundant and students break the law constantly. In Georgia, people under the age of 21 are allowed to have a maximum Blood Alcohol Content of .02 at any time. This leeway allows minors to use mouth wash and other substances with alcohol in them without getting charged for consumption.
What most UWG students don’t know is that many residence halls on campus, including all freshmen dorms, are “dry”, meaning no alcohol is allowed anywhere on the premises. The University Police’s underage consumption policy is, “All officers in the Department will follow a policy of Zero Tolerance for those who consume or possess alcohol under the legal age in violation of state law.”
This describes that anyone under the age of 21 on campus must have a BAC of 0.0 at all times. It is rash that a minor can have a record for underage drinking when they just used mouth wash in the morning before driving to school.
An exception to this rule is if a minor is intoxicated and gets sexually assaulted. The University Police’s policy states, “The only exemption to this policy is if the person under the influence has been sexually assaulted or is in a medical emergency. The person is still subject to being cited once the situation has stabilized.”
This is far more understanding compared to the BAC rule, and makes it easier for students to feel comfortable calling the police in an emergency. The earlier rule, while being a zero tolerance policy, isn’t sympathetic to the fact that some things have alcohol in them and students use them unintentionally.
A final rule that many students aren’t aware of is that once a student turns 18, their parents or guardians no longer have the right to see students’ records, unless the student fills out a form to allow a guardian to see their records.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA, limits the viewing of student’s personal records. This seems strange to students who aren’t used to their parents having the right to see their records.
The University has to take the student’s privacy into account before anything else, causing some tension between the school and guardians which could easily be avoided if parents were more aware of this law.
A solution could be if the school had a seminar during new student orientation, or even just mentioned it more. Then, parents would be informed and not get upset that they can’t see their child’s records.
The school doesn’t advertise enough that they have different rules from the state, causing students to get in trouble more frequently for situations they didn’t even know could happen. If UWG educated students, faculty and staff more, fewer issues would arise.