Students face the impact of drinking

After one of Carbondale’s most notorious drinking weekends, many students must face the university’s jurisdiction in handling drinking citations.

Jason Gillman, assistant director of Student Health Services, said right after Polar Bear, an all-day drinking event, is the busiest time for the Student Wellness Center and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

He said there is a process every student caught underage drinking must undergo.


Carbondale police officers take an inebriated man into custody saturday at pinch penny pub during the city’s annual polar bear celebration. Some carbondale bars had an open door policy with city police to help reduce underage drinking. Chris zoeller

Once a student has received a drinking ticket, the Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities takes the severity of the situation into consideration and reprimands the student as they see fit.

Neverson Heatley, a student rights and responsibilities specialist, said the office receives reports of drinking citations from university housing, campus police and city police.

“We assess every report on an individual basis,” he said. “There are many sanctions and jurisdictions we can use, and we take into consideration how the student handles the situation.”

Heatley said in most cases the student receives a court date where a judicial board decides the consequences.

Every first time underage drinking offender is required to take a class called Choices, which consists of two group sessions that cost $6 each, Gillman said.

For a second offense, he said, students are required to attend Basics, which is a one-on-one personal counseling session that costs $100.

Alex Johnson, a freshman from Geneva studying aviation flight, said he thinks it is ridiculous students have to pay for classes in addition to paying for their ticket.

“The ticket was enough of a wake-up call. I don’t need to pay for classes to know not to get caught drinking again,” he said.

Gillman said the cost of the classes goes back towards resources for the students.

Johnson said he and his friends got caught with alcohol on the overpass bridge and were all charged with underage drinking.

“The whole experience is a real big pain in the butt. That should be enough to keep kids from drinking,” he said.

Nick Von Holten, a freshman from Bloomington studying biological sciences, said his friend got three drinking tickets at once this weekend.

“She was visiting from another school and got caught at a bar with a fake ID, which led to three charges. One for underage drinking, one for having a fake ID, and one for being in a bar underage,” he said.

Von Holten said his friend now owes about $600 in tickets and has to come back to Carbondale in May for a court hearing.

The exact number of drinking citations for the weekend has not yet been released.

Bailey McNamara, an undecided freshman from Hoffman Estates, said city police issued her ticket and they were fairly understanding.

“I still had to deal with the university, but I got to do community service, which cut the price of my ticket in half,” she said. “I think that the school has a right to know about any incidents, but I don’t think it is their responsibility to do anything about it.”

Heatley said the university does not want to punish students but rather educate them and prevent future incidents.

“Our goal is to address the events that happened and provide an intervention to stop it from happening again,” he said.

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Ashley Zborek

About Ashley Zborek

Hello, My name is Ashley and I am the Daily Egyptian's Online Editor. I started off at the DE as a campus reporter in fall 2011.

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