Since 2007, UTSA Police Department (UTSAPD) has been involved in over 1,300 alcohol-related arrests at the Main Campus. At the Downtown Campus, there is a considerably lower number of arrests five in 2007, two in 2008 and none in 2009.
The university is attempting to address alcohol-related issues through educational programs.
Sexual Health Alcohol and Drug Education for Students (SHADES) Student Peer Education Program is responsible for creating awareness among students on different life choices, such as sexual health, and drugs and alcohol, as the name implies.
Under the direction of Student Health Services, it offers many events and programs throughout the year, free of charge. Events such as Girl’s Night Out and Guy’s Night In, incorporates outreach about alcohol and drugs abuse to students in a laid back comfortable environment.
“We want our students to be learning and living a smart educational life,” Bretton Gilmore, director of student health services, said. “Our purpose at UTSA is to teach students how to make good life choices.”
Education and awareness is used, not only to bring out potential issues but to tackle present ones. Currently, alcohol is allowed at University Oaks for residents of legal age with strict discretion regulations.
However, if an underage student is caught drinking, or alcohol is consumed publicly, UTSAPD officers have the authority to issue court appearance citation, make an arrest if necessary or issue Minor in Possession (MIP) and Driving Under Influence (DUI) citations.
“President Romo is taking an active role. He appointed committee members to look very closely [at the issue]”, states Gilmore. “The goal is to make UTSA a safe and minimal risk environment for all students.”
Alcohol sales on campus would increase campus revenue, yet several off-campus venues close to UTSA, such as Cantina and España Bar, have already been established as student “hot spots” to drink and socialize after hours.
“I personally don’t see The Cantina, as a business, being greatly affected,” The Cantina head bartender Chris Mulkey, said. “Most of our crowd is college kids, who just want to get out of school, drink and hang out with their friends. I doubt they would do the same thing on campus.
“They’re already in school all week, so they need somewhere else to go for the week-end. That’s why around 50-70 percent of our clientele are students,” Mulkey said.
However, the availability of alcohol on campus may have special appeal.
While some students express concern over mixing academics with alcohol, others are in favor of drinking a few cold ones after a test.
“I think it will give school more tradition; make it a less commuter campus,” Adrian De Leon, sophomore computer science major, said. “You can easily drink off-campus, but there is more of a social experience on-campus.”
“It all comes down to students knowing their limits” Luis Plascencia, senior architecture major, said. “People might go drunk to class, and even become disruptive. It’s all a matter of drinking responsibly. Drinking is a part of the college experience; it creates a social construct among fellow peers. We as students just need to be aware of the risks and act upon our judgment in order to have a fun, chill time with our friends.”