Liquor litter: Drinking in campus lots endangers everyone

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Policy: To the extent not regulated by the Drug-free Workplace policy, alcoholic beverages, unlawful drugs, or other illegal substances shall not be consumed, used, carried, or sold on any property or in any building owned, leased, or rented by Utah Valley University, or at any activity sponsored by the institution.
From UVU Policy and Procedures available online at www.UVU.edu/policies/officialpolicy/policies/show/policyid/100

While the policy above seems straightforward, apparently not everyone pays attention to it.

Unfortunately, there are people on campus that ignore this policy and compound the problem by drinking just outside, or even inside, their cars in campus parking lots.

Last month, the front page of the UVU Review was graced with several grisly photos that showed the aftermath of distracted or otherwise inattentive drivers, all in the immediate area of campus.

These accidents resulted in several serious injuries to students simply trying to make it to school.

Now consider this. On most Mondays and mornings, after concerts and events held at the UCCU Center, the north parking lots have been littered with smashed beer cans and other empty alcohol containers.

Thankfully, there are rarely many to be found. But it makes you wonder how many cans didn’t make it out of the car, how much people were consuming and how many cars were leaving a packed parking lot with a buzzed or drunk driver behind the wheel.

It also makes you wonder how many people those drivers might have hurt or killed.

Campus police are very familiar with this issue, and are actively working to prevent any fatalities.

“Officers are assigned to every event, some to specifically patrol the parking lot,” says Sergeant Justin Sprague, public safety officer on campus.

Without citing specific methods, Sprague explained that they “actively go out looking for ‘tailgate parties’ and potential drunk drivers.”

Those they find that are of-age and have a designated driver, are informed of the university alcohol policy. Underage drinkers or drivers that drink are issued citations for such.

The intent, Sprague says, is “to prevent [drunk drivers] from going out and killing someone.”

There is no way of knowing if the people that drank on campus were even students here. Rarely, if ever, are they caught in the act.

Considering there were fewer than 20 liquor law arrests around campus in 2009, many of them must still be getting away with it.

What this all boils down to, however, are two main issues.

First, with this happening on a near weekly basis, it’s shocking that people get away with this unnoticed, or at least they are not reported to the police. One would think that a fair number of students in this valley are strongly opposed to the flouting of liquor and driving laws.

Second, the fact that drivers are drinking, or allowing open drinks in their cars (it is just as illegal to have an open container in the car when it is parked as when it is in motion), is absolutely horrifying.

There have been too many accidents on campus without adding the tragic results of drunk driving to the mix.

Risking your own health and driver’s license is one thing, but risking the health and safety of everyone else in a crowded parking lot and on the busy roads is entirely unacceptable.

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