NU Annual Security Report reveals lowest liquor law violations in 3 years for Evanston campus


Brian Meng/The Daily Northwestern

Searle Hall houses the Community Alcohol Coalition. The Coalition was formed to suggest changes to alcohol policies on campus and is made up of NU students, faculty and staff.

Elizabeth Byrne, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern’s 2017 Annual Security Report revealed the lowest number of liquor violations in three years on the Evanston campus.

According to the report, 272 liquor law violations were referred for disciplinary action in 2016, 246 of which occurred in residence halls. In 2014 and 2015, there were 423 and 439 violations, respectively, according the report sent to students in September.

Dean of Students Todd Adams told The Daily in an email that it’s difficult to attribute the decrease in violations to one cause.

“After looking at the data, I don’t know of any particular reason that would have impacted these data,” Adams said in the email. “Of note, the (report) covers calendar years, while the University operates on academic years, so the reports you are viewing cut across all or parts of three school years.”

Lars Benson, chief of staff for Associated Student Government, said the popularization of the Amnesty through Responsible Action policy could have led to the decrease in violations.

“We’re all in transition toward an acknowledgement of drinking culture over the last year, which has not been there in the past,” Benson said. “For the first time in a long time, we’re seeing Northwestern start to genuinely acknowledge that yes, students do drink.”

Benson added that he hopes the decrease in violations will make it clear to both students and administrators that NU prioritizes safe drinking and has resources available for students.

Groups like the Community Alcohol Coalition make campus drinking culture safer, Benson said. The coalition — made up of students, faculty and staff from Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and the Office of Student Affairs — recommends alcohol policy changes.

IFC President Rodney Orr, a member of the coalition, said the group aims to involve the entire NU community in raising awareness about safe alcohol practices.

“It involves the entire community, not just Greek life,” the SESP senior said. “Being a member of the Community Alcohol Coalition is taking experiences from everyone and seeing what we can do as an entire community to improve.”

Orr added that he hopes the coalition and all future alcohol safety initiatives create a “system of accountability” and show the student body what it means to drink safely on campus.

Benson said the decrease in liquor violations is a positive sign, and he hopes the data show that safe drinking is a priority for both students and NU administrators.

“This is a sign that ultimately the drinking culture at Northwestern is getting healthier,” Benson said. “It’s coming out of dark basements and coming into situations where students are safe, and (that) really should be encouraging for everybody.”

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