Three new drinking laws spur college students to political action
Students from the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University attending the St. Joseph City Council chamber on April 18. (Photo courtesy of Reed Osell/ The Record)
According to Minnesota Public Radio, college students in St. Joseph, Minn. were surprised when three new laws went into effect in their town. The three are detailed in this report by Will Moore, a graduating senior at St. John’s University:
“The first requires landlords to sign a keg permit acknowledging beer will be served on their property. The second allows police to charge people who are drunk with a misdemeanor if they’re uncooperative with police. The third ordinance holds hosts responsible if any minors drink alcohol at their social gatherings.”
According to Moore’s article, although college students represent approximately one-third of the eligible voters in St. Joseph, they didn’t know about the new ordinances until after they were passed in January 2013. That may mark an end to the student body’s apathy or disregard for local politics.
Since learning about them, students have added a discussion of the new laws to the school’s “Politics and a Pint” series; attended a meeting to hear the mayor of St. Joseph, its police chief and other officials speak; started a Facebook page to engage students and local officials in dialogue; begun a social media campaign and shown up at city council meetings. City council news will also be covered by the campus newspaper.
According to Moore, “dozens of students attended a St. Joseph City Council meeting on April 18”, where they expressed their desire to have the social host ordinance amended. The mayor and police chief indicate they welcome the students’ involvement and are open to further discussions.