Ohio University’s underage drinking policy too harsh?

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       Many students have complained about the strict drinking policy at Ohio University. The policy gives you two strikes, with the second being a semester suspension. A strike can come from a dorm write up, off campus violation, or through the notorious undercover cops that make their way into bars. Three other Ohio schools have policies that give you a much better chance of getting through your four years without being suspended. Xavier University and Miami University use the three strike policy, which suspends a student after their third drinking related write up. The Ohio State's drinking policy is even more lenient, As Junior Josh Schroeder puts it, “The University stays away from suspending people for drinking related incidents." Schroeder said. "Almost all our arrests our through Columbus police and the school won't even hear about it."

      This is not the case with Ohio University, as Athens being a small town leads to cop and school official interactions. Take Junior Luke Lanman for example. Lanman served a semester suspension his sophomore year after being caught with alcohol twice. Lanman is a 3.5 student involved in many co-curriculars at Ohio University, but still got suspended. "It's just unfair." Lanman said. "A majority of the drinking that goes on here is underage. You shouldn't have to luck into getting a down to earth RA to not get into trouble." Lanman was first written up his freshman year for drinking in the dorms. While on probation for six months Lanman got cited for carrying a case up a street during one of the annual fests. Lanman explained the worst part being that he was notified on the last day of school, stating that he had paid for his classes, books, and housing. Although Lanman was reimbursed, he believes that the untimely decision of his suspension had a negative impact on his life. "I just think Ohio's drinking policy is way too strict and really put a huge detour on my life."

      Lanman isn't the only student who has gotten in trouble with the policy. David Huser was caught twice with alcohol in his dorm before second semester of his freshman year. Huser was suspended and now goes to the University of Cincinnati. "I don't think it's fair at all." Huser said. "One of the times that I was caught, an RA said he could smell alcohol through my door. I bet ten other rooms on my floor alone were drinking that Friday night. It's absolutely ridiculous." Talking to Ohio University students, it seemed as if no one was on board with Ohio's policy. Ohio Sophomore Drew Schroeder was one of those students. "A student gets on probation after getting caught in the dorms or at the bars.” Schroeder said. “They lay low for a little while then get suspended after being at the wrong place at the wrong time on Court Street. I just don’t think it’s fair when give or take 50% of the underage kids here have consumed alcohol.”

     The harsh conditions of the policy come after the recent number one party ranking title, which could be the reason why the school keeps the policy. Former Ohio University student Brad Appleton said that the policy was much more laid back during his time at Ohio University, and that under covers were almost non-existent.

      The question that needs to be answered is whether Ohio should change this policy. Multiple schools from Ohio have more lenient policies, and Ohio may benefit from the change. Three strikes and your out has always been the saying, but apparently Ohio officials like their own motto. There is no denying that a number of underage students drink. It’s part of college and always has been. Should making a mistake in the dorms and getting unlucky on Court Street lead to suspension? Should there be a three strike policy like the majority of the Universities in this country? It looks like the party school rep is starting to impact the students after-all, but not in a good way.