Saturday, December 22, 2001


Dorm students
say liquor ban
will not work

Alcohol is blamed for the growing
violence in one UH dormitory

By Treena Shapiro

Some University of Hawaii students say they doubt a proposal to ban alcohol in a residence hall is the best solution to curb escalating campus violence.

After residents expressed concerns that violence at the Hale Noelani apartments was getting out of control, the UH-Manoa administration called a Thursday night meeting with students to address possible solutions.

However, perhaps because it was held the night before the last day of finals, the meeting attracted only two students, who heard administrators kick around the possibility of turning Hale Noelani into a substance-free "wellness" dorm.

"One of the areas that was discussed was indeed whether our residence halls should be alcohol-free, both across the board and in terms of specific halls," said Alan Yang, dean of student services.

Yang said more meetings would be held after students start moving back into the dorms Jan. 12.

Students moving out of Noelani yesterday for winter break tended to agree that there had been more fights on campus during the fall semester, but most did not agree that an alcohol-free residence hall would be the best solution.

While noting that drinking sometimes got out of hand, Kelly Coveleski, 20, said she was not sure the residents would abide by alcohol restrictions.

"Rules aren't enforced here very well, so it might not solve the problem," she said.

A 23-year-old student agreed. She said she and her friends who are of age go to bars or clubs to drink and that most people who drink in the residence halls are underage.

The situation could be improved by enforcing the rule that students could not bring alcohol out of their apartments, she said.

"People are always wandering around on the balconies, and that's where the trouble starts," she said.

Henry West, 20, said he was off campus so he would no longer have to worry about the fighting. He had previously lived in a wellness dorm at UH and said he did not think that was the solution for Noelani, unless all the residence halls were made alcohol-free. Otherwise the drinking would just move to another hall, he said.

West, who lived near Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., said UH President Evan Dobelle had enacted a zero-tolerance policy for violence while he was president of Trinity, similar to what he has proposed for UH.

"If he can do something like that, more power to him," West said.

Donald Dawson, captain of campus security, said that alcohol was definitely a factor in the fighting at Noelani.

"I don't think anything bad happens in those dorms down there where alcohol is not involved," he said.

But he was not sure if turning Noelani into a wellness hall would be the right option for the students, especially since Noelani attracts students who are older and can drink legally.

"Having a dry campus would probably make my job easier, but is it fair to other people?" he asked. "Thank God I don't have to make those kinds of decisions."

Ka Leo O Hawaii
University of Hawaii

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