Office of Student Conduct hosts drug and alcohol awareness seminar

The Office of Student Conduct hosted a drug and alcohol awareness seminar on March 1. These seminars were started as a way for Student Conduct to create a positive association with students. It was meant to serve as a relaxed environment for participants to have an open conversation regarding drugs and alcohol. 

It was hosted by Kynlee Cunningham, a graduate assistant for the Office of Student Development. She stated this event was created to provide students with more resources and education regarding drugs and alcohol. 

“It’s made people consider the steps and choices that they make whenever they’re consuming drugs or alcohol,” Cunningham said. 

Participants said they felt for the most part, other students did not seem to care about drug and alcohol use. They said it was relatively common on college campuses. In addition, they noted they had not seen many negative portrayals of it in the media.

In addition to the effects of drugs and alcohol, the seminar discussed potential criminal charges. They talked about the differences between a misdemeanor and a felony. A misdemeanor will result in time in a local jail, while a felony will result in incarceration in a state prison. Some of the possible charges described included a DWI, driving while intoxicated, BUI, boating while intoxicated and a MIP, minor in possession. 

In addition to actual charges, Cunningham brought up how a drug or alcohol charge can affect someone’s life, including serving time, large monetary charges, having one’s driver’s license revoked and impacting future employment opportunities. 

“That obviously makes employers at least back off, much less just not consider you,” Cunningham said. “(It) eliminates your voting rights, (it) eliminates the right to bear arms and other negative consequences as well.”

The seminar created various fake scenarios to open a discussion about the impacts of drugs and alcohol. In one scenario, resident assistants discovered a person’s roommate’s marijuana and as a result, both were changed. In another, a designated driver in a group of friends becomes pressured into drinking alcohol. They highlighted the importance of communication and accountability. 

Some students chose to attend to receive education on the topic, stating that they hadn’t had an open conversation about drugs and alcohol. 

 “I decided to come just for some decision making. I learned a lot about felonies and how drugs and alcohol may affect you in the long term,” said Nya McLaurin, a sophomore exercise science major from Southaven, Mississippi. 

The Office of Student Development wants this event to make students aware of not only their choices with drugs and alcohol, but also of what can lead into a worst case scenario. They designed their messages intentionally, in a way that will not lead to a defensive response. 

“(The Office of Student Conduct) really just has the best intentions and wants these kinds of messages to be heard fully, rather than people always thinking that they’re in the worst trouble in the world,” Cunningham said.

The next drug and alcohol awareness seminar will be hosted on Apr. 19 in the St. Francis River Room in the Student Union.

Categories: News

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