By Maddison Cervantes

The last time I checked, being left out on the streets of Reno to fend for yourself has never been the safest route for anyone. Add alcohol to this equation, and you basically have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, our lovely residence hall policy here on campus disagrees. If you are caught drinking or intoxicated when coming home, a second chance, solid punishment and perhaps some help from a counselor are supposed to be in order.

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems that the rules have been tweaked a bit. The residence advisors have been slightly disregarding their “policy” and simply kicking residents out of their dorms.

This scenario is a new and “improved” solution for any resident who decides to get a little rowdy on a Friday night and attempts to sleep in their own bed. God forbid.

The RAs working the front desk have found it more fitting to say, “tough luck,” and send you on your way, than to actually work through whatever problem it is that the resident may be dealing with, aka how the situation should be handled.

Or, if a resident is unwilling to leave, the other solution is to give 911 a call and provide you with a nice little trip to the emergency room, even in the most unnecessary of instances.

Then there are situations like my floor mate’s: a “one strike and you’re out” type of deal.

As irresponsible as alcohol looks in general, the poor guy was simply trying to go to bed after a night out with some friends and having a bit too much to drink.

This was probably his most responsible decision of the night, but the few RAs who witnessed him throwing up in the parking garage thought differently. They automatically jumped to conclusions about my floor mate, put him under investigation and he was not taken care of in the slightest.

Getting sick from drinking too much is now considered to be a crime here at the University of Nevada, Reno. If you partake in such an activity, you will not be tolerated and most likely kicked out of your residence hall without given a chance to redeem yourself.

His options were given to him: either leave the dorms or go to the hospital. Seeing that an ambulance would have been highly unnecessary and that he had no means of getting anywhere, the young man’s parents were called by one of the RAs.

I applaud whoever made the call, considering that I have heard of and witnessed a number of prior instances where a resident was literally turned away from the dorms and left to fend for themselves.

After all was said and done, his parents came to his rescue, but only for a short time. They were a bit on the angry side and he was, among other things, screwed out of a living situation.

The residence hall advisors and directors determined the resolution of removing my floor mate — or should I say former floor mate — from Argenta Hall after seeing that his grades were not in tiptop shape. This was evidence enough that any future actions of his would be the downfall of dorm life as we know it.

Without the support of his parents’ home and lacking a car, he attempted to plead his case; something he was told he had every right to do. Sadly, he was never given the opportunity and had to move into the Capri Motel across the street from Jacksons, which is clearly a much safer place for a college freshman to reside.

Now, don’t get me wrong, alcohol in the dorms is an accident waiting to happen, should not be tolerated and supervisors should do everything in their power to prevent its occurrence. But it has been clear to me for some time now that there are a handful of residents who are in need of some more reasonable consequences which can actually help their well being, instead of throwing them out with their belongings behind them.

Is it normal to be deserving of an eviction notice every time a mistake is made? Fingers crossed that it is not just me who believes in second chances.

One huge wrench in the system is that the residence halls are spending far too much time and energy dissecting one single incident. There is so much that these people, whom we trust with our security, are missing, and most of it is happening right under their noses!

From alcohol inside the dorm room mini-fridges to marijuana smoke coming out of a sixth floor window, a resident who is simply trying to go to sleep after a night out is only one of many concerns.

Why be so harsh on one kid who was just trying to end his night safely in his own bed, when in the next room over, far worse is likely to be happening?

The amount of students that I could personally report for drinking in the dorms or getting caught for possession of weed is on its way to being never-ending. And that may or may not be in Argenta alone.

With that being said, I think a new rulebook is necessary when it comes to intoxicated residents, and I am sure that I am not the only one who would be willing to send in a few tips.

Instead of cutting a resident off completely for making a typical college student mistake, compromise. Give them reasons why it is unsafe and show them what the risks are in an educational manner.

Scaring kids away only shows that the residence halls do not have the residents’ best interests or safety in mind, and that is clearly not something that will attract future students to the dorm life at UNR.

Maddison Cervantes studies journalism. She can be reached at