Editorial by Kernel Staff. E-mail [email protected]
The Kernel reported on Aug. 23 that the UK chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity was suspended indefinitely after police identified underage drinking had taken place at the Lambda Chi house on Huguelet Drive on Saturday evening.
According to the Kernel article, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe received an anonymous noise complaint on Saturday night, which prompted UK Police officers to investigate and issue eight citations for minor possession of alcohol.
Due to the suspension, Lambda Chi Alpha will not participate in fraternity recruitment activities this fall.
While it is illegal for those under 21 years of age to partake in alcoholic beverages, this activity is commonplace on college campuses across the country.
Issuing citations to every person found to be drinking underage may stop the behavior in the short-term, but it is unrealistic to expect that on- and off-campus student violations will cease following a series of citations.
Rather than campus police officers immediately focusing their attention on breaking up parties that serve alcohol to minors but have no other discretions, perhaps other campus crime occurrences should be given equal weight.
By punishing only those whose actions are the result of blatant disregard for others’ safety, UK Police can clarify its main concern: campus security. When intoxication results in increased risk for injury or death for those involved, that is the point at which campus police should step in.
According to the UK crime log for Saturday, Aug. 21 through Sunday, Aug. 22, there were also charges filed on or near campus for reported theft from an automobile, burglary of a campus building, a bike was stolen, an assault and disorderly conduct charge issued and a drug possession.
In most cases, these criminal activities resulted in arrests of the persons involved and that was the extent of it. But to the misfortune of all members of Lambda Chi, whether or not they were involved in the distribution or consumption of alcohol by underage students, everyone is punished indefinitely.
Details of what exactly happened on the night that Lambda Chi received its suspension remain under investigation by both the university and the international Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters, according to Todd Lichtenauer, director of communications and information technology for the fraternity, as reported in the Aug. 23 Kernel article.
For the time being, Lambda Chi members must learn their lesson via suspension.
But there inevitably will be similar situations requiring UK Police intervention in the future. When that time comes, officers should take into account the severity of the crimes and whether the resulting punishment will likely prove effective.