BYU-Idaho students: Do your roommates drink?


On May 10, two anonymous sources told The Rexburg Police Department there was underage drinking at a coed apartment complex.

After police investigated, police arrested three women at an apartment complex for underage consumption of alcohol, according to the Rexburg Police Log.

Altogether, police found 11 people in the apartment, seven of whom were drinking. Three of the seven were underage, according to the Rexburg Police Log.

All three are scheduled for trial in the next month for purchase possession or consuming alcohol by someone under 21 years of age, a misdemeanor.

Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department said drugs, theft and alcohol consumption have gradually become more common among students.

He said sometimes a decrease in reported crimes among students is not necessarily accurate because even when alcohol or drug use in student apartments is not reported, students are still doing those things.

According to a new article in The Washington Post, drinking and binge drinking among 12 to 20 year olds has dropped between 2002 and 2013.

In 2002, 51 percent of people 12-20 drank alcohol, and 2013, 43.8 percent drank alcohol of some kind, according to The Washington Post.

At BYU–Idaho, one person was arrested for liquor in 2011, six people were arrested in 2012, and two people were arrested for liquor-law violations in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

There were no liquor-law referrals to the Student Honor Office in 2011. There were 15 in 2012 and four in 2013.

Jordon Helmer, a senior studying health care administration, said he has not had a roommate who has drunk alcohol, but he knows it still goes on.

“I have had multiple friends here on campus that have drunk or that I had known to have drunk,” Helmer said.

Liesl Wise, a senior studying communication, said her friend was offered alcohol at her apartment complex.

“That was very strange to me because I’ve been here for three years and no one has ever offered me alcohol,” Wise said.

Devin Engberson, a sophomore studying physics, said drinking occurs more than people think.

He said he once had two campus acquaintances who drank.

“We stopped seeing them as much but didn’t know why,” Engberson said.

Engberson said he and his friends saw less of the two, and then they noticed their breath and behavior seemed to indicate alcohol consumption.

“Well, they were very secretive about it,” Engberson said. “They were also using e-cigs, which they weren’t secretive about. It was Kahlúa they were drinking because they had been using it to cook with.”

Wise said her friend would visit people in her apartment complex and occasionally those people would offer her alcohol.

“I don’t think anyone was really pressuring her to drink,” Wise said. “I don’t want to give that impression.”

Wise said her friend noticed alcohol’s prevalence at her apartment complex.

Lewis said that although he believes the religious influence on BYU–I students leads to an exceptionally low crime rate, alcohol and marijuana use still occurs among BYU–I students.

Wise said she has lived at multiple places around campus, but the incident with her friend was the first time she had interacted with alcohol.

“I’ve had friends here for a long time, and no one has really offered them alcohol either, and I haven’t been offered alcohol, and so that was weird,” Wise said. “It was kind of shocking to hear that it was at the place where I lived, too.”

Wise said there was not a lot of supervision and clean checks sometimes went undone at the apartment complex she used to live.

“I don’t feel like management was in our homes as much as other apartments,” Wise said.

Lewis said BYU-I students band together to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, forming an agreement that no one will tell the school or the police.

“They’re in cahoots,” Lewis said. “They know some roommates don’t approve of that sort of behavior, so they form circles with other kids who are willing to break the rules.”

Lewis said cooperative disobedience causes many crimes among BYU-Idaho students to go unreported.

“It’s a fun place to be, and for the most part, they don’t have a pervasive drug culture,” Wise said about her apartment complex. “I don’t think BYU–I does either. But I think we need to be aware that there is alcohol at this school, though, and hard drugs.”

Students can report incidents of underage drinking to the Rexburg Police Department at 208-359-3008. Students who struggle with alcohol can contact LDS Addiction Recovery Program.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll