University sees decrease in judicial fine revenue



Greg Doyle

As a result of the University’s continued efforts to educate students on the dangers of alcohol consumption, revenue from judicial fines have seen a significant decrease in the last several years, according to Dean of Students Paul Pugh.

The amount of judicial fines collected by the University almost a decade ago was close to $75,000, according to Pugh. 

In more recent years, that number has dropped to $50,000 per year. 

“The severity of the fines has decreased,” Pugh said. “Two-thirds of the fines were under $100.”

It has become less common for students to be documented for more expensive items, including kegs, grain alcohol and drugs. 

The most common citation that brings a student into the dean’s office is possession of beer, according to Pugh.

“It’s rare that we have repeat offenders,” Pugh said. “We use the fine as deterrence. Most students will come in and understand what they did was wrong. They don’t want to get in trouble again.”

According to Pugh, the University collects no profits through the judicial fines. Instead, the money goes toward educational programs, VEMS and the Office of Health Promotion. Consistently, freshmen prove to comprise the bulk of the offenders, according to Pugh. As such, the University introduces students to the consequences of underage drinking before they enter campus.

“We try to focus on the irresponsibility of drinking,” Pugh said. “We know what’s legal and what’s illegal. It’s the ‘irresponsible’ that needs more attention –– the type of drinking that’s so abusive that you are hospitalized.”

The University has yielded impressive results with student participation since it began participating in the AlcoholEdu program, according to Pugh.

“Ninety-eight percent of freshmen finish AlcoholEdu before coming to school,” Pugh said. “That’s unheard of at other schools.”

According to Pugh, the University works to debunk the myth that drinking is necessary to have a good time. 

The Office of Health Promotion has provided suggestions for alcohol-free activities that serve as an alternative to ones that are often linked with drinking.

“All colleges have alcohol,” Pugh said. “The question is, how do we address it to maximize students’ potential?”