Can I Drink Beer I Confiscated?

Question: I caught two students drinking in a dry dorm. I decided not to report them for a first offense and I confiscated their beer. Am I now free to drink it myself? I am over 21.

If you’re the resident assistant in the dorm, then doubtless you know the policies on violations and what the consequences are. Maybe you’re allowed to use your discretion when it’s a first offense — talk that out with the hall advisor. In any case, you’ve put yourself in a predicament. Think about the temptation you’ve created for yourself: a potential source of free beer. What if you catch these same students again, and even though it’s a second offense you decide to be lenient? Free beer! What if word gets around that you operate that way and other students in the dorm start buying your favorite brew in case you catch them? More free beer! I’m not saying that you’ll necessarily slide down this slippery slope, but it could happen. The policies are meant to help you avoid this situation. If it’s a dry dorm, then you probably aren’t allowed to drink either, even if you are of legal age. Follow the policy about confiscated alcohol — whether that’s pouring it out or turning it in somewhere. That will help you stay fair and objective the next time you have to make a decision like this.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.