Liquor Law Violations Double from 2019 to 2020

Juliette Gaggini, News Co-Editor

The Clery Act is a federal law which requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime as well as safety and security policies. In late September, the annual crime and safety report was sent via email to the University community by the Chief of the Department of Public Safety, Steve Barilar. The report is also available online. 

As stated in Barilar’s email, “the report contains information regarding campus security, fire safety, crime reporting policies, policies and prevention related to sexual assault and other crimes, disciplinary procedures, and other matters of importance related to security and safety on our campus.”

Along with the statistics from this past year, the report also contains statistics from three previous calendar years. This year’s report showed a number of marked changes from previous years. In 2020, for instance, 409 liquor law violations were referred for disciplinary action; that figure was 215 in 2019 and 333 in 2018. Of the 409 liquor law violations in 2020, 387 occurred in residential facilities. Meanwhile, of the 215 reported violations in 2019, only 170 of them took place in residential facilities. 

These statistics indicate the number of liquor law violations nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020. Though the 2019 school year was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is still nearly 100 more liquor law violations than the previous comparable year – 2018. 

When Barilar was asked about the recent increase in alcohol violations, he referenced a report of this 2021 school year’s outcall transports for alcohol overdoses on campus. “As the report suggests, there have been 47 alcohol overdoses at this time period compared to 28 at this time period in 2020. That trend may reflect a troubling national trend showing alcohol consumption has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“However,” he continued, “the majority of the calls for public safety transports due to student intoxication are as a result of students calling concerned about the welfare of another student, which is very positive.”

Students are similarly curious about this figure’s dramatic increase. Helena Strauss ’24, an RA in McDonnell Hall, provided her insight on the situation with The Bucknellian. “Bucknell has always been notorious for drinking, however I think COVID-19 and the isolation caused by this pandemic have worsened this problem. People have been drinking more these past two years because they feel alone and [–] to be honest [–] they are bored. I saw this last year as a first-year and I am continuing to see it this year with the class of 2025. Except this year, first-years have way more access to alcohol than my year did when we were first-years because things here are more back to normal,” said Strauss. 

“Residential education always trains RAs on how to deal with alcohol violations,” Strauss noted, “but I wish they would teach us more about dealing with the mental health side of this issue. The concern should be more on the well-being and safety of our first years, rather than on just conduct.”

Along with showing statistics in the annual crime and safety report from liquor law violations that were referred for disciplinary action, the report also shows liquor law violations that ended with arrests. These statistics have remained relatively stable, with 18 arrests in 2020, 15 in 2019, and 16 in 2018. 

In yet another interesting trend, the number of drug law violations which were referred for disciplinary action has steadily decreased since 2018. In 2018 there were 79 reported violations, with 73 in residential housing; both 2019 and 2020 saw 63 reported violations, 52 (2019) and  53 (2020) of which were in residential housing. 

The statistics of the annual crime and safety report indicate more students caught breaking liquor laws, and less students caught breaking drug laws on campus.

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