Alcohol policy changes updated
By Felicia Schwartz, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, August 10, 2012
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s alcohol policies have been updated and will be finalized this fall to ensure that they are informed by student feedback and collaboration with administrators and Safety and Security, according to an email sent to Greek presidents by Greek Leadership Council moderator Duncan Hall ’13 on Wednesday night. The updates include a trial period for the new policies, the postponing of the bartender requirement for parties that serve hard alcohol and the formulation of the random walkthrough policy.
While the proposed policies will affect students across campus regardless of Greek affiliation, Greek leaders have worked closely with Johnson this summer to ensure the new policies take student perspectives into account, summer GLC moderator Elliot Sanborn ’14 said.
Sanborn said that Johnson has spoken with summer leaders from GLC, Panhellenic Council, Inter-Fraternity Council and Greek houses, as well as alumni and student leaders who are currently off-campus.
Johnson had a conference call last week with Hall, Panhell president Sarah Wildes ’13 and IFC president Tim Brown ’13 in which she discussed the planned updates to the policies, Hall said.
Greek leaders interviewed by The Dartmouth said that Johnson has been responsive to student feedback and has integrated it into her updates.
“She’s very been flexible, thoughtful and considerate in the application and drafting of the new policies,” Brown said.
Each of the policy updates appears to take into consideration formal recommendations made by the GLC, Sanborn said.
Submitted to Johnson on July 26, the recommendations were a formal document “synthesizing student input into concrete, actionable policy suggestions,” Sanborn said.
The document stated that the policies would be more effective if they “promote clarity and allow students to familiarize themselves with and adjust to any new policy changes during a 60-day trial period.” The trial period — which the document suggested be 60 days but the duration of which has not been officially determined — will allow all of the Greek houses and social spaces to adjust to the “culture change,” Hall said.
The decision to postpone implementing the bartending requirement will allow Johnson to work with students to find a realistic way to regulate drinking in social spaces while considering input from students, according to Panhell summer president Eliana Piper ’14.
“All of us on Panhell and GLC understand the need to regulate the alcohol that goes to students at parties,” she said.
Piper said she hopes the policy will include “more of a student face,” perhaps by strengthening Green Team.
“Johnson got a lot of push-back for it, so before she implements it she wants to make sure it will work,” she said.
Panhell was especially concerned that the bartender requirement might encourage drinking to move into closed, private spaces and increase the likelihood of sexual assault, Piper said.
The walkthrough policy will now be crafted in the first few weeks of Fall term to allow collaboration between students and Safety and Security, both of whom will deal directly with the policy, Hall said.
“Pretty much it will be a student-created policy with input from the College,” Hall said.
Student leaders and Safety and Security will meet to figure out the specific details of the new walkthrough policy and then present it to Johnson, Hall said.
Looking forward, Sanborn said he hopes students will offer constructive criticism to the administration.
“We’re moving in the right direction in terms of student input and building trust between administrators and students,” he said.
He said that while collaboration has gone well this summer, the administration should always “push to be as transparent as possible,” incorporate student feedback and try to understand daily student life.
“If students continue to give constructive feedback, that constructive feedback will be listened to,” Piper said.
Students should understand that the administration has a “top-down view” of the situation and has information that students cannot necessarily access, Sanborn said.
While the new policies take student feedback into account, continued willingness to collaborate will be crucial in future work, Sanborn said.
“I think of it as the beginning of a process,” he said. “I don’t think any of them are comprehensive. Stronger student-administration ties are more important than specific policy in addressing the issue in the long run.”
Johnson declined to comment for this article.