This fall, the University of South Dakota became the first Board of Regents’ university to permit alcohol in select residence halls.
Pertaining only to McFadden and Coyote Village, the new rule states any student who is of age and consents to the regulations outlined in the policy are eligible for the designated housing option.
Phil Covington, associate dean of students, said in previous years students have asked the university to allow exceptions, but it was something the university could not even consider.
“That request had been out there, and in the past our response would be ‘We understand your frustration, but the Board policy does not allow us to consider it so it’s not going to happen,’ ” Covington said.
In order to be considered to live in assigned alcohol areas, students had to fill out an additional survey when registering for housing last spring.
Covington estimated there are roughly 40 students total living in alcohol-designated areas of McFadden and Coyote Village. First floor McFadden and fourth floor east wing in Coyote Village are the only authorized areas where alcohol can be housed.
“Just because they are permitted (to possess alcohol), doesn’t mean they have to do it,” Covington said. “We are just preserving the possibility that if they want to do it (consume alcohol) occasionally, they can do it.”
The new policy prohibits students from having any alcohol in view while minors are present in the room. It also mandates alcohol can only be brought into the room by those who live in there, regardless if guests are of age.
Although alcohol is allowed in the two residence halls, illegal activity involving alcohol has not increased.
“If they can control it it’s ok, but if things get out of hand it’s definitely not ok,” Abby Hubbling said, a junior living in Coyote Village.
Lt. Dallas Schnack, assistant director of university police, said the numbers have not dramatically increased from last year in the regions around McFadden and Coyote Village.
“As a matter of fact the numbers are probably around the same as they were last year,” he said.
Schnack said he does not believe the new policy has caused any cases involving minors.
“I haven’t seen anything to indicate that there’s any issue with the alcohol over there,” Schnack said.