Kaitlyn Tambasco, Assistant News Editor
Harmful and underage drinking on a college campus can take a toll on the intellectual and social lives of students.
This is no different at Utica College.
Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards Carl Lohmann commented that if a student is found with illegal drugs or is underage drinking, they have to go through a conduct hearing.
“We have an educational conversation during a conduct hearing and will typically use educational sanctions depending on the severity of the incident,” Lohmann said. “There are cases where the student can be asked to do an Alcohol or Other Drug (AOD) assessment with the AOD counselor.”
The educational conversation that students go through informs them on safety tips that go hand in hand with alcohol consumption, as well as different types and sizes of alcohol and what to do if they see dangerous situations developing.
“A one-time violation early in your college experience can easily be explained,” Lohmann said. “More and more, students eventually go through background checks as a part of the graduate school application or hiring process, especially with some of the health-related and criminal justice/cyber security professions that a lot of our students will be entering.”
Lohmann also stated that students need to be very mindful when considering their behavior.
“It is more important as adults to weigh the consequences of certain behaviors when dealing with peer pressure to do certain activities,” Lohmann said. “As far as consumption, it is important to consider both the consequences and the health risks as it relates to binge drinking.”
Director of Campus Safety Wayne Sullivan commented that the number of incidents involving drug and alcohol abuse has decreased on campus.
“So far we’ve had 113 incidents from last fall to now,” Sullivan said. “Where last year, that number was 140, and the year before that had 191 incidents.”
Utica College alumni Maggie Tabone now attends graduate school at Canisius College and coaches women’s basketball at Daemen College. When Tabone was a student at UC, she was also on the women’s basketball team. Although her team wasn’t a problem, there were rules about alcohol and drug use.
“Drugs were an absolute no and alcohol was okay when you were of age,” Tabone said. “You could not drink 24 hours prior to a practice and 48 hours prior to a game.”
Tabone also commented that the rules were enforced by the coaches and the athletic department and are the same at Daemen College, where Tabone coaches.
On the other side of that, some music programs have their own rules regarding drug and alcohol abuse.
Junior Jessica Bates was a part of the marching band back in high school and commented they had strict rules about drug and alcohol use. If a student was found with drugs or selling drugs, they were immediately dismissed from the band.
“When we went on our marching band trips, we had a meeting before that talked about prohibiting drugs, alcohol or medication that wasn’t prescribed to us on the trip.” Bates said. “If any student were to be caught with it, we were told we would be removed from the program and face suspension from school.”
Bates recalled a memorable band trip where a few students were playing with the things in their hotel room and found a Bible with a bag of weed. She commented that the students were nervous because it was not theirs, but it was in their room. There was also no proof it was planted there.
“The students went to our band director and told her what they had found and our director was happy that the students had come forward,” Bates said. “The students would have been in trouble if they held onto it or kept it to themselves with the fear of getting in trouble.”
Her experience in high school helped her prepare for the rules of higher education.