Fines for alcohol violation fines lowered

By Zoe Zabel

TCU has lowered fines for alcohol violations this school year in an effort to encourage students, rather than parents, to pay.

Under the changed policy, the fine for a first violation falls to $75 from $150. The second violation will cost a student $100, rather than $225 and the fine for a third violation is $150, down from $300.

“The purpose of structuring these sanctions is to keep students safe,” said David Cozzens, associate vice chancellor and dean of campus life. “Our primary goal is the prevention and education of alcohol.”

The new program, which focuses on the prevention and awareness of alcohol consumption, includes a new wellness center in the University Recreation Center. The fully staffed center will focus on stress, sleep deprivation and alcohol wellness.

The new alcohol program will also include enhanced education for first-year students as an interactive online program.

AlcoholEdu will take students four hours to complete, said Cozzens.  “Students will need to receive an 80 percent on the exam to pass,”  he said.

If students receive additional violations additional education will be given through the AlcoholEdu sanctions program.

The AlcoholEdu program will be paid for through the fines collected from alcohol violations, said Cozzens.

He said there’s no truth to “three strikes and you’re out.”  

“We have never removed a student yet for getting three alcohol violations,” he said.

Students who receive a third violation usually indicates someone who has a bigger problem that needs to be addressed, said Craig Allen, director of housing and residence life.

Cozzens said violations are carried over year-to-year to hold students responsible, Cozzens said. He added that if students get a fresh start every year they are more likely to break the policy.

Community service requirements are also changing with the new program.

Cozzens said it will be used to provide sober tailgates, sober events and informational fairs.

“The purpose of this is to provide students with community service that will be directly related to the behavior they are trying to fix,” he said.  

About 450 alcohol related violations are issued on campus each year. First-year students receive the most violations.

“The 450 number seems like a lot but you have to consider the amount of students who are receiving multiple violations and the increase of first-year students could also have some correlation with the amount of violations issued,” said Allen.

The new policy adjustment is modeled off other Big 12 schools.

Cozzens said that TCU is above average for the number of violations issued to students for drinking compared to other colleges our size.  

“That’s the part of the competition we don’t want to win,” he said.

Students are split in response to the new policy changes.

Junior economics major Matt Radich said he thinks that the fines won’t make a difference because students are going to continue to consume alcohol.

George Waidelich, a junior finance major, said he would “rather pay the fine than do the new community service.”

The new program also hopes to increase the collaboration relationship with Housing, Fraternity and Sorority life, Campus Life, Counseling Center, the new Wellness Center, TCU Police and other TCU departments regarding programming with the hope to enhance consistent messaging and enforcement of the policy.