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Ramapo College Institutes a Questionable Approach to Reducing Students' Alcohol Use

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Ramapo College, located in Mahway, New Jersey, has instituted new measures in an attempt to curb students' alcohol use and partying, with the hope that by doing so, campus sexual assaults will be reduced. 

Ramapo College students will be fined $400 if they require medical attention because of over-consumption of alcohol.  Students will also be fined $500, and will face the prospect of being evicted from on-campus housing, if they host a party where excessive drinking occurs.  A separate fine yet would be imposed if underage persons are caught drinking alcohol at a party that a Ramapo College student hosts. 

Obvious push-back has occurred at the school in light of the new alcohol policies.  Students claim that those in need of medical attention will not receive such attention because the intoxicated students themselves and / or concerned parties will refrain from seeking medical attention out of fear of getting into trouble.  Additional concerns expressed by Ramapo College students is that because of the prospect of being evicted from on-campus housing, students will host off-campus parties which may in turn result in more students drinking and driving to and from such off-campus parties.

Ramapo College President, Peter Mercer, contends that the new policies are appropriate because "nearly every week, intoxicated [Ramapo College students] are transported to local hospitals with blood-alcohol levels more than two or three times the legal limit."  Alcohol is often a factor in school disciplinary cases involving campus sexual misconduct and sexual assault, and Ramapo College believes that by instituting these measures with the goal of reducing excessive alcohol use by students, campus sexual misconduct and sexual assaults will also be reduced.

Like many schools, Ramapo College has been criticized for alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault that takes place both on and off-campus.  The school has also been criticized for its handling of Title IX investigations regarding such matters.  Five Ramapo College students are in fact presently being investigated for their alleged participation in an alleged sexual assault that occurred during the 2015 fall semester.  Two students have been charged with raping a 19 year old student, alleged to have been unconscious, in a dorm room.  Three other students have been charged with encouraging the sexual assault.

Also, like many schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Ramapo College is not alone in trying to limit students' alcohol use.  Ramapo College's rationale is questionable, however, in light of the fact that fining a student for seeking medical attention may result in much more serious consequences than intended for students in need of help.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges across the United States while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

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