N.J. law should apply to underage drinking in college

The state laws of New Jersey are established for the people and by the people. Therefore, it’s natural to feel cheated when a dean enforces policies contrary to them. Case in point: the method used by Rutgers University to deal with underage student drinking on its New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses.

Most underage student drinkers never experience the judicial process of being charged with a disorderly persons offense due to University policy. Instead, the majority of people consuming alcohol under the minimum legal drinking age who are reported to the dean by Resident Assistants are referred for an hour presentation on the dangers of alcohol use, led by either the campus health educator or a student health educator intern at the Rutgers Health Outreach and Promotion Education office.

If this policy were correct, then New Jersey citizens would have adopted it as a state law, which has not happened. Although alcohol laws have been updated in the state, such as the 911 Lifeline Legislation Law to help underage student drinkers who are in danger of alcohol poisoning — no mention is ever made of using education instead of the judicial process for people consuming alcohol under the minimum legal drinking age.

Rutgers is allowed to blatantly break the law because we, the people of New Jersey, let them. Numerous staff and students are aware the University’s current alcohol policy violates state law, but they fail to report it. One person has, but to no avail.

On Feb. 26, a complaint was made to Rutgers Police Department by a concerned citizen. It stated: “Official Misconduct is occurring because underage student drinking on campus where there is no danger of alcohol poisoning, which would be exempt by the 911 Lifeline Legislation Law, is not reported to the police by University Administrators and Mr. Mark Shuster, who is the Dean for the Office of Student Conduct at Rutgers, has committed it.” Case #14-08929 was assigned to the complaint, but months passed by without anything happening. 

After a phone call, Rutgers University Police Department suggested directly contacting the prosecutor’s office since only they have the power to arrest someone for official misconduct. An email was sent to the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office on May 1 without any response. On Sept. 18, Rutgers Police Department re-sent the complaint to the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office — where nothing has happened because, to be politically correct, it’s the bureaucratic nature of the legal process. However, in reality, the judicial system ignores complaints against state officials cheating the system.

Unless we stand up and take back the state laws established for the people and by the people, dean Shuster as well as state officials will continue to ignore them and make 

No, it’s actually run by state officials who make policies contrary to the state laws without any consequences. Congratulations to dean Shuster for committing the perfect crime, as well as RUPD and the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office for only arresting average people to create the illusion of law and order while the real criminals are allowed to destroy the democratic principles this state was founded on.

Allan Gomes is a class of 2011 Rutgers alumnus. 

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