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What students want to know about the SVSU Alcohol Policy

It is important for students who have questions about the Alcohol Policy and its enforcement to read and ask questions of members of the Residential Life and/or Student Conduct Programs staff.

The following represent some common questions students have about the policy on alcohol possession and consumption at SVSU:

Where can I find the policy ?

It is available in its entirety in on the web at .  

Why does SVSU care if minors drink?  After all, it’s college!

In short,  alcohol use can be an extremely disruptive force in a communal environment, like a college campus. Additionally, statistics support the fact that alcohol is often responsible for students “failing to succeed” in college.  Finally, the University is concerned about the potential for medical emergencies that result from alcohol use. 

Where can I drink at SVSU?  

Only in designated areas of campus.  First Year Suites and Living Center North are designated as alcohol-free (zero tolerance) living areas. Assigned residents of Living Center South, Living Center Southwest, University Village East, University Village West and Pine Grove who are 21 years of age or older, and who have obtained a valid alcohol permit initiated through the Resident Director are permitted to possess and consume alcohol in accordance with the Policy. 

Can I drink on campus if I’m under 21? 

No, you may not drink if you are under 21.  SVSU complies with State law.   If you are confronted in possession or under the influence of alcohol, University Police Officers have the discretion to issue a citation (MIP). Can I get a campus charge AND an MIP? Yes.  The courts will only affect you as a citizen of the State of Michigan; SVSU can only affect you as a student at the University.  As a member of both “communities”, you are subject to the rules and consequences of each.  It’s not double-jeopardy, it’s multiple jurisdictions. 

If I get an MIP, what happens?  

Make sure you follow the instructions on the citation! 

I heard that RA’s are out looking for intoxicated students after 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights.  Is that a fact? 

No, the RA’s are responsible for ensuring that our students are safe.  If, in the course of their evening rounds, they observe (see, hear or smell) a student who is obviously intoxicated, they must approach the situation.  If they determine a minor is in possession or has consumed alcohol, they are to contact a Resident Director and University Police.  RA’s are also obligated to check out situations that are referred by other students.

Can I pressure an RA to let me off the hook? 

That would NOT be ethical and puts the RA in a really tough position, but in reality, RA’s do not determine who is ultimately responsible in any conduct-related matter.  They merely record the details of incidents and turn the information in to their Resident Director, who will interview all students involved and determine individual level of participation.

What can I expect if Res Life staff and University Police come into a room?

Staff typically check to see if anyone requires medical attention.  After that, you’ll be asked to provide identification and questions will be asked.  There might be circumstances when you are asked to submit to a PBT to determine blood alcohol level.  In most incidents, IF a violation has occurred, you will be told to stop the ‘party.’ Alcohol may be confiscated or dumped out, depending on the circumstances.   If no violation is in progress, you’ll get a smile and wish for a good evening!

What happens if I’m not drinking, but other students are?  

All circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and each student’s level of accountability for policy violations are considered separately.  Generally, if the drinking occasion is in your unit, you will have responsibility for hosting.  If you are in a unit authorized for alcohol consumption, and not drinking, the likelihood is that you’ll be complimented for making a good decision.

What does “excessive quantities” mean?

A reasonable limit for the amount of alcohol permitted in a single drinking occasion has been defined see web site: drugs.  No kegs, trash cans or other common sources of alcohol is permitted at any time.

I’m collecting empties for cash ... OK?  

In areas not authorized for consumption, empty alcohol containers are considered possession and will result in a conduct referral.  In areas where alcohol can be consumed, empties may be counted toward the total limit allowed per eligible resident student if it is apparent the containers were consumed as part of that drinking occasion.  It is expected that students will appropriately dispose of all beverage containers in a timely manner as part of the Health and Safety/Housekeeping requirement.

But my friends brought the beer!

The resident student who is hosting will be responsible for behaviors introduced in the community by their guests.  If you can’t control a situation, you should call for help!

I’m 21, but my roommates aren’t.  Will I be charged with furnishing them if they drink in the room? 

It depends!  Hopefully they will be honest about where they obtained the alcohol.  And we know that it is not necessarily YOU.  We certainly attempt to get the facts before passing any judgment on the matter.  It would be a good idea to let them know up-front that you won’t buy for them!  You’d be surprised how much they’ll respect you for standing up for yourself.

RA’s hand out NTA’s.  Is this a ticket?

No, it is only a Notice to Appear, which means you have to make an appointment for an interview with a Resident Director or other conduct officer within a stated period of time.  If you ignore the NTA, you could be charged with a violation. It’s best if you schedule an appointment to speak on your behalf ... it certainly can’t hurt! 

Who can get information about me if I am charged with a violation of the Alcohol Policy?

If you are under 21, the University notifies your parents after all due process (hearings and appeals) are exhausted.  The Athletic Department is notified for student athletes, as well.  Otherwise, the information is neither included on your academic transcript nor provided to any future or current employer.  You may elect to waive your right to privacy, but must do so in writing in order for anyone else to have access to the information. We recommend that students notify their parents and/or coach before the formal notification reaches them.  They seem to react better that way! 

When can I pay the fine?  Where?

Following your meeting with an RD or other conduct officer, the commensurate fine will show up on your Cardinal Direct account.  You can pay at the Cashier’s office then.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Alcohol violations can be serious ... especially if they are ignored.  First time infractions of a serious nature and multiple violations can result in removal from SVSU housing and/or the University.  Many students will find themselves on “probation”, which means that if found responsible for any other violation of the Code of Student Conduct, a student could be suspended from housing or enrollment.  Alcohol violations are cumulative over the course of a student’s academic career at SVSU ... so each year builds on the past.

The SVSU Policy Concerning the use of alcohol and Other Drugs was written as evidence of SVSU’s commitment to its students by:

•    Encouraging a campus environment where healthful choices are made;
•    Working to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse;
•    Accepting responsibility for one’s own choices and behavior;
•    Encouraging alcohol-free programs;
•    Supporting and empowering those who choose responsibly not to use alcohol;
•    Enforcing University, federal, state and local codes, ordinances and statutes which govern alcohol and other drug use.

You are encouraged to seek answers to any questions you have regarding the Policy Concerning the Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs, as well as others.  Please feel free to consult with any member of the Residential Life or Student Conduct Programs staff, to learn more.

    Published by the
    Office of Student Conduct Programs
    Curtiss 114, (989) 964-2220