Harlingen's TSTC goes 'dry'

Armando Castillo

Texas State Technical College TMs Harlingen campus went dry this semester banning alcohol from the school TMs dorms.

The rule is applied to all students regardless of age and even to those living in family housing.

Administrators told Action 4 News the strict policy is in place for a good reason.

They want to cut down on public intoxication, domestic violence and other incidents.

College officials said the Monday night arrest of a dorm resident illustrates why the school needs to continue to the policy.

TSTC police arrested 21-year-old dorm resident Artemio Castillo following a disturbance just before midnight..

The Harlingen native faces aggravated assault charges for attacking his roommate with a knife.

"The officer determined he was under the influence, obviously was inebriated, said TSTC Police Chief Aurelio Torres.

Under the dry dorms policy, violators must undergo alcohol counseling on their first offense.

A second offense results in housing probation and third violation may result in suspension.

Administrators said each case is different and that they TMll decide how to appropriately discipline Castillo once he posts bond and is released from jail.

Chief Torres said the dry dorms policy is there for public safety reasons.

"In the long run, it should deter or prevent a lot of criminal activity, violent crimes and I think it's a good policy, Chief Torres said.

Dorm residents must agree to the policy before living in campus housing.

Sam Patten and Marissa Figueroa both live there and are above 21 years old, the legal drinking age in Texas.

"When you think of college you think of partying and drinking you know, Figueroa said.

Patten agreed.

"I think the alcohol policy is absurd, Patten said. We're adults and we're Americans, we should be able to drink."

Both want the school to create a zone where students over 21 can drink.

But in the meantime, the two dorm residents said they take their partying elsewhere and use the dorms for sleep and study.

"We go out, we keep it pretty quiet here at the dorms, Patten said.

Figueroa agreed but said students will continue to drink.

"I think no matter what they do there's always gonna be alcohol inside the dorms or outside it doesn't matter, she said.