GSU’s alcohol violation process

Michelle Norsworthy

Despite college campuses’ efforts to curb underage or otherwise unhealthy drinking, it’s no secret that freedom and [sometimes] free alcohol don’t exactly mix.

When a student gets caught, they may face disciplinary probation, fines and in some cases, suspension.

It isn’t all bad though. According to Dr. Mark Whitesel, Associate Dean of Student Conduct, getting an alcohol violation isn’t only about the consequences; it’s about the education.

“I don’t think anyone comes in saying ‘Hey, I’m gonna go get arrested or get a violation’,” Dr. Whitesel said, “but there are things to be learned, even in those situations. Students often come in thinking ‘Okay, it’s the end of my world’ and it’s not.”

While the alcohol violations do have severe consequences, the Office of Student Conduct, along with the Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs, also take an educational approach to handling violations.

“It’s not that those punitive things aren’t there,” Dr. Whitesel said, “but I believe sometimes these situations are character building – that they can help people get back on the path where their goals and values really are – to where they really want to go.”

Nicole Withers, administrative coordinator for the Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs, handles much of the education aspect.

“By the time [the students] get to me, they already have their sanctions,” Withers said. She teaches the students who come her way about the dangers of underage and excessive drinking. Part of the class is also giving students information for services like Shuttle Gus and Blue Goose.

“It’s good that [the class] wasn’t shaming. They really just explain what’s going,” Kaitlyn Smith, freshman Early Childhood major, said.

The consequences for each violation are outlined in the Student Conduct Code but according to Kerry Greenstein, Associate Dean of Students, the consequences may vary case by case. This is especially true when an alcohol violation is accompanied by other violations.

For most students, who are only at their first alcohol violation, the consequence is a fine, a class and three months probation. For others, the consequences may be steeper.