Alcohol Temporarily Banned From Stellenbosch University Accommodation

Stellenbosch University (SU) recently announced that as of 1 January 2020, alcohol will no longer be allowed in SU student accommodation or on the university premises.

Senior Director of Student Affairs, Dr. Choice Makhetha said, SU had many tragic incidents happening in the previous year which includes two events that were heavily covered in the media. One of which was the story of a first-year student that passed away, presumably because he consumed too much alcohol.

To address the issue of alcohol abuse on campus, the Rectorate of SU decided to ban the trade of alcohol in residences and its clubs. Therefore, the “Residence Rules which are the guidelines of the living and learning communities at SU,” will have to be reviewed. This must be done in order to collate the decision made by the Rectorate and will occur over the next few months. It should conclude mid-2020.

“Once the rules have been reviewed, these principles will be supported in the Disciplinary Code for Students. The University will act against residences or individuals who are found guilty of transgressions,” Dr. Makhetha said.

The following rules have been implemented since 1 January 2020

  • No alcohol will be allowed in SU student accommodation or on its premises. It may not be stored or displayed in residences as empty bottles or cans.
  • Alcohol will be confiscated and destroyed if it is found in student accommodation.
  • If found guilty, the matter will first be dealt with as a residence disciplinary matter and if offenses are repeated then it becomes a central SU student disciplinary matter.

“These rules stay in place until new residence rules, that have the positive impact of changing the binge-drinking culture to a culture where drinking limits consumers’ Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to 0,08%, are agreed upon.”

The Rector and Vice-Chancellor both support the change

Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, Prof Wim de Villiers said, “the right thing for all residences to do is to proactively evaluate their respective cultures and traditions and constitutions against the values of the University.”

“What are our five values? ECARE – excellence, compassion, accountability, respect, equity. Everything we do should be in line with these values. The term ‘responsible use of alcohol’ in itself is not helpful in regulating the use of alcohol. This is especially so when the use of alcohol is the social norm and it is not clearly and universally understood when a user crosses the threshold to irresponsible use.”

Students are being asked to make the best of this situation and engage with the Division Student Affairs on this topic. They are also being asked to think of ways that their respective living and learning communities should use alcohol in and around student accommodation.

Dr. Makhetha says, “we are open to a period of engaging conversations with our students about the ways in which we will combat these difficulties, to make our living and learning communities safe and welcoming spaces for all.”