University of Nevada, Reno has seen the highest amount of minor in consumption and alcohol citations given out this past year in all of the university’s history but students said that UNR MIC laws are unreasonable and too severe.
“We know you are gonna drink and our job is the stop the excessive amount of irresponsibility that is happening,” said Commander Todd Renwick of the University of Nevada, Reno Police Services.
Since 2008, the University of Nevada, Reno has been cracking down on minor in consumptions with 1,126 MICs on-campus and off-campus given out in 2013 alone, said Renwick. 2013 was by far the most MICs given out thus far with 2012 having 809 MICs and 2011 having 457 MICs given out to UNR students according to Campus Crime Statistics of 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The university received a $3 million grant to enforce the safety of students through education and if students do make the choice to drink and get caught, the process of B.A.S.I.C.S., said Renwick.
B.A.S.I.C.S. stands for “Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students” and is a program that is seen enforced in college towns throughout the United States that shown a high amount of underage drinking usage, said Renwick.
Every Friday, Saturday and occasionally Thursday night, the University of Nevada, Reno Police Services officers spend their time patrolling the university campus and surrounding areas for minors who could potentially be under the influence and a danger to themselves and others, said Renwick.
“The reason why these laws have become so enforced is because we have found
that sexual assault and other events such as these have happened surrounding the usage of alcohol,” said Renwick.
“You are either going to make a decision to drink or not when you come to college,” said Renwick. “In a student’s freshman year only one-third will get caught drinking through the dorms and off-campus.”
Freshman student Alex Fike experienced how serious and severe the aftermath of underage drinking can be when she had to spend a night in Washoe County Jail after an evening of drinking.
“I think that spending a night in jail was too harsh of a punishment,” said Fike. “I do believe that I should have been fined because I was illegal but having to go to jail was too severe because I could’ve just gone home and gone to bed.”
Fike said she had a .18 percent blood alcohol content when she arrived at jail. Although Fike said she was fully coherent and was not throwing up at any point during the night, the Police insisted that she spend the night in jail and did not allow her to leave until she blew a .0 BAC.
“I think Reno is especially harsh on MICs because almost every person I know has one and the punishments are really severe,” said Fike, “I have friends in other colleges such as USC and UNLV and they have never even heard about minor in consumption laws or the possibility of spending the night in jail like I did.”
Although many UNR students believe that the university’s laws are extremely severe, students at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. would disagree, said Marisa Mohn, freshman at Pepperdine.
“Pepperdine is very strict about drinking on- campus and if we get caught we are not allowed to travel abroad sophomore year, which is a huge deal for everyone at my school because everyone wants to travel abroad here,” said Mohn.
Mohn said that off-campus is another story and all of the surrounding areas never card students for buying alcohol even when they obviously look underage. Although Pepperdine does not give out MICs through law enforcement, they prefer to go through the school to give punishments without using the process of B.A.S.I.C.S.
Even though the University of Nevada, Reno enforces the program of B.A.S.I.C.S., current UNR student, Austin Taylor, said that it is not as effective as it is supposed to be.
“B.A.S.I.C.S. is too harsh and time consuming of a punishment for people who don’t have an alcohol abuse problem,” said Taylor. “I was just caught in the wrong place and wrong time on a Friday night when I was drinking but I don’t think I have a problem.”
Renwick said that the program B.A.S.I.C.S. is effective for students who have been caught because it reinforces the dangers of drinking and gives students the opportunity fix a bad choice.
“The courts, the judges, and the University of Nevada, Reno thought that B.A.S.I.C.S. was a good idea because it includes education and it is a way to ensure that a poor choice made in early college years, won’t haunt someone forever,” said Renwick.
As a freshman or sophomore the majority of students either make a decision to drink or not, said Renwick. It has been proven that more and more MICs are given out each year especially on the UNR campus including people who are not always in danger, said Renwick. We are trying to stop the tragedies and incidents that always have alcohol tied to them and there is an exponential amount of them that happen on the UNR campus, said Renwick.
“I understand the dangers of using alcohol irresponsibly but I think that half of the MICs that are given out every year are not actually deserved,” said Fike.
“If you make a decision to drink we want to make sure you are making responsible choices and do it wisely but at the same time we are telling you up front that if we have contact with you and you are drinking underage, you are going to get in trouble,” said Renwick.