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Article updated: 9/26/2013 6:15 PM

Benedictine University enacts alcohol ban

By Justin Kmitch

The roughly 700 Benedictine University students living on the school's Lisle campus have until 10 p.m. Friday to rid their rooms of all alcohol.

The mandate comes as part of a new university policy announced Thursday that bans alcohol possession and consumption in all campus housing areas.

University officials said the ban, which comes two days after law enforcement officials declined to press charges in two alleged sexual assaults on campus, is a mechanism to provide a safe environment for all students.

Marco Masini, vice president for student life, denied the policy is a reaction to the alleged assaults and said he does not believe there is "an abundance of alcohol" on campus.

"We are responding to a national trend of campuses responding to alcohol abuse concerns," Masini said. "Over the past several years there have been incidents of students harming themselves or others, damaging campus and personal property and too much alcohol abuse. We're responding to that."

Masini said the response from students has so far been "mixed" and he has not yet waded through his full email inbox.

In a written statement, Benedictine University President William Carroll called the change in policy a necessary next step in the university's pledge to ensure the safety and well-being of its student body and campus community.

"Benedictine University is grounded in the values of its founders, among which is living in community and concern for the other," Carroll said in the statement. "Out of the utmost concern and care for our students, the university, with support of its deans, senior leadership, the Department of Athletics, the Office of Student Life and the Alumni Association board of directors, has agreed to immediately enact an alcohol ban in campus housing areas."

Students found to be in violation of the policy will be cited by university police and risk being removed from university housing. Their academic status will not be affected by the citation.

Carroll invited all university parents and legal-age students to design a "realistic alcohol policy" that could be adopted in the future.

"The policy is not meant to be punitive to young adults of legal drinking age but to provide a preventive and supportive environment for those vulnerable to alcohol abuse," Carroll said.

The ban will apply to all of Benedictine's campuses, including those in Springfield and Mesa, Ariz., and will be implemented for an indefinite period of time.

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