Days after putting brakes on their inquiry into allegations of a pair of sexual assaults in which alcohol was said to have played a part, Benedictine University officials have implemented a ban on possessing or consuming alcohol in student housing. Those age 21 and older can still imbibe at specified campus locations, however, and the prohibition is not being framed as the last word on the matter.
A news release sent late Thursday afternoon described the new ban as “a necessary next step” on the Lisle campus, site of the alleged Sept. 15 attack. University police said two females, one of them a student and the other a visitor, reportedly were assaulted in a campus dormitory by male students. After interviewing those involved, Lisle police concluded they did not have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.
Campus officials are making it clear they take the situation seriously, however.
“The Office of Student Life and the University Police Department have actively been engaging its student body in person and through its social media campaigns to help students identify situations involving alcohol that may put the student or others at risk for harm,” said Marco Masini, Benedictine’s vice president for student life, in the release.
Masini emphasized that his office also collaborates with campus police and the administration to identify students “at risk” and enforce university policies designed to ensure students’ well-being.
Benedictine also has posted a one-minute video on YouTube titled “Sobering Moments” that focuses on the physical and social effects of binge drinking.
Students who violate the new policy will be subject to removal from university housing, although they will still be permitted to attend classes. William Carroll, the university’s president, said the ban will be in effect indefinitely at the Lisle, Springfield and Mesa, Ariz., campuses. He said he invites students age 21 and older and Benedictine parents to offer input toward “a realistic alcohol policy” for future adoption.
University representatives declined to discuss the measure, with spokesman Elliott Peppers relating in an email that “administrators primarily dedicated (Thursday) to answering questions.”