October 29, 2014

Alcohol and student conduct

Deb Eerkes of Student Conduct and Accountability discusses the facts you need to know about alcohol and student conduct as you head into the Halloween season. 

You don’t have to stretch the imagination too far to make the link between alcohol and misconduct. As a Discipline Officer, I often see how these these reckless actions due to alcohol are in violation of the Code of Student Behaviour. I meet with students who say they can’t remember the events of the evening, or that they shouldn’t be held responsible for what they did under the influence of alcohol. And every time I think to myself that there has to be a different way to help students understand this issue and make better decisions.

As you enter into the Halloween season and attend events that include alcohol, keep these facts in mind:

Alcohol is the number one date rape drug.

Some of the worst examples I’ve seen have to do with sexual misconduct. It is an area of great confusion and danger for many students. Sometimes students don’t realize that someone who is drunk cannot legally give consent and that having sex with a person who is incapacitated with alcohol is a violation of the COSB (and potentially a criminal code violation as well). And those who commit the offences are more likely to have been drinking than those who are assaulted. Take a look at this eye-opening piece from the Sexual Assault Centre to learn more about alcohol and drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Drinking heavily impairs the ability to make other decisions.

Decisions made while heavily under the influence of alcohol may not be the decisions you would make if you were sober. Some of those decisions might involve theft, vandalism or violence that seem deserved or funny at the time. Unfortunately, it is difficult to foresee consequences of your actions when you’re drunk -- that doesn’t mean there won’t be any. 

Consequences can range from mild to devastating. The possibilities range from waking up and being embarrassed about your evening, to waking up and not remembering it at all, finding out later that you hurt someone, caused serious damage to something or got in a whole lot of trouble. Remember, when you exercise less control over your behaviour, you also have a lot less control over the severity of the consequences. When you choose to drink heavily, you are choosing to impair your good judgment.

Being drunk doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for the decisions you make or actions you take. And it doesn’t shelter you from the consequences either. Please be aware of your limits and decide to drink responsibly rather than having to live with the consequences after you sober up!

If you are concerned about your or a friend’s drinking habits, contact the Community Social Work Team who can refer you to the appropriate resources.