Annual Safety Report: Liquor and Drug Violations Down From Pre-COVID Levels


Dickinson students received disciplinary referrals for drug and alcohol violations almost as much last year before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the annual Fire and Safety Report released by the college last week. This report still indicates a decrease in violations from 2019 and prior years. 

Chief of Public Safety Dee Danser said “I do think students are starting to understand that open possession or consumption of alcohol is not wise, and may likely draw the attention of law enforcement.” 

Four Dickinson students were arrested for liquor law violations last year, the first arrests since 2016. According to Danser, three of these arrests were made by Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board personnel, who patrolled campus during the 2021 Fall semester, while one was made by the Carlisle Police Department. 

The college advised students in Sep. 2021 that Liquor Control Board officers would be on campus, “with the intention of identifying and citing potential violations of the Pennsylvania liquor laws.” An email from George Stroud, VP of Student Life and Dean of Students, warned the student body to “think about [their] attitudes and behavior regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages,” noting that the officers may not drive marked cars or wear uniforms. Danser said that the presence of the Liquor Control Board officers “did impact the arrest statistics.” 

In 2021, there were 55 liquor referrals (a different type of violation handled internally by Student Life), compared to 16 in 2020, when students were on campus for the first half of the spring semester and a small contingent was on campus in the fall. 

These numbers are similar to what the college saw before the outbreak of COVID-19, with 63 referrals in 2019. According to Danser, “almost all of these incidents involve underage possession or consumption of alcohol.” She said, “Public Safety prefers to handle most of these situations through Student Conduct because it is an educational process — one that serves to support and educate an involved student instead of penalizing them with a criminal charge.” 

Drug referrals were up as well, 11 this year compared to six in 2020, though not quite reaching the 18 referrals in 2019. 

Drug and alcohol violations have been decreasing since 2016, when students racked up a whopping 162 liquor referrals and 75 drug referrals. 2020 was clearly an outlier, since students were not on campus for much of the year, but the 2021 statistics appear to continue this trend. 

Danser said, “our priority is the safety of students, and we want to make sure students can call for help for themselves and others without fear of penalty.”