How successful has St. Cloud been in curbing excessive student drinking?

Trying to rein in the partyers

In two recent articles, the St. Cloud Times says some progress has been made, thanks to several things:

  • A social host ordinance:

The new ordinance seems to be having an impact. In September 2009, there were 99 loud parties reported to St. Cloud police. In September 2010, there were 52, meaning there was a nearly 48 percent drop in loud party calls.

It cautions against drawing strong conclusions too soon, however:

For St. Cloud State University’s homecoming weekend, police wrote more than 250 citations for a variety of violations. That amount was on par with 2009 numbers.

  • A disruptive intoxication ordinance:

Since Aug. 14, police have issued eight citations for violations of the new ordinance, which prohibits disturbances by an intoxicated person.

  • A provisional liquor license ordinance:

Businesses that have three violations would have their licenses suspended or revoked. The business would become eligible for a provisional license, which would last a year. No businesses have received such a license since the law went into effect in August.

  • A diversion program that changes the city’s approach toward punishment:

Previously, it didn’t matter how many underage consumption tickets the person had, they always paid the same amount — $178 per ticket. With the new system, first- and second-time violators are eligible for the diversion program. Individuals with three or more violations have to go to court.

(It’s still to early to judge the effectiveness of that one, the paper states.)

  • An attempt to promote “best practices” at bars.
  • The success of this one, however, seems debatable. After the city failed to pass an ordinance to limit the types of drink specials bars could give, the Times reports:

… The St. Cloud Hospitality Association brought forward a resolution reaffirming their adoption of best practices. The resolution says members will refrain from marketing or offering all-you-can-drink specials and will refrain from promoting or sponsoring drinking games where consuming alcohol is part of the rules.

The problem, as always, is that a number of bars aren’t following the resolution, and that voluntary “best practices” aren’t enforceable.