Hard Alcohol Ban Official
Members of the Student Government Association (SGA) met with members of the Campus Affairs Committee (CAC) - Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students James Terhune, Assistant Professor of Economics Andreas Waldkirch and Adjunct Associate Professor of Theater and Dance Jim Thurston - to revise the policy regarding infractions of the newly implemented hard alcohol ban for the 2010-11 school year on Tuesday, April 20. The revised policy lessens the punishment for students 21 and older caught with hard alcohol and acknowledges SGA members' concerns regarding the judicial process and medical amnesty for students.
The Board of Trustees had already decided to ban hard alcohol beginning next fall. However, SGA members voted down the original provisions of the ban on April 4 in a vote of 15-13 with two members abstaining. As a result, a special committee met Tuesday to revise the policy, which is now final.
Class of 2012 Co-President Laura Maloney, who voted 'no' on the initial ballot, cited uncertain consequences for students admitting to alcohol violations as one of her concerns.
'I agree with the policy in principle, but I did think that there were problems,' Maloney said. 'I had issue with the judicial process and student access to the [judicial] board'.I was concerned that there were so many 'or's.'' The CAC will continue to look into the judicial process, SGA President-elect Leslie Hutchings '11 said.
Additionally, SGA members 'were concerned that people'wouldn't be able to get help for their friends' in the case of students seeking medical attention,' Hutchings said. 'We want people to not think twice about that.'
During the meeting yesterday, the committee decided that instead of facing the same punishments as underclassmen, those 21 and older will receive permanent hard alcohol probation for a term or a semester. As a second offense, such students will face permanent hard alcohol probation or suspension. The College will indefinitely suspend third time offenders, Hutchings said.
'Overall, I'd say it was a pretty productive meeting and I was surprised how open they were [about] relaxing the over 21 policy,' she said.
The SGA 'basically got some concession on every issue [they] had with the policy,' Maloney said. However, Maloney is still concerned about the revised policy for those above the legal drinking age.
'I have a hard time reconciling in my head that there is still a harsh punishment for possession and consumption for students over 21 because [hard alcohol is] legal outside of Colby, but I am glad that the conference committee made some concessions [in this area] and the punishment is not as strict [as originally proposed].'
With respect to events held off campus, 'there's also going to be a fourth paragraph to the introduction that says that reckless provision of hard alcohol is prohibited on or off campus,' Hutchings said.
The committee did not implement complete amnesty for students seeking medical attention; each case will be judged by medical circumstances. However, Hutchings is 'definitely a lot more comfortable' with the new guidelines.
'Afterwards I personally would have really liked to see complete hospital amnesty because I think in these transition years it would be a nice buffer,' she said. 'We're trying to change the drinking culture'but the most important thing is that people can get help and my main concern is the health and safety.'
Overall, the meeting allowed SGA members and Board members to work together to address students' concerns regarding the policy, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students James Terhune said.
'We discussed a number of very important issues and were able to reach agreement on how to resolve areas of concern without significant difficulty'.I think the adjustments that came out of the conference committee address student concerns and make the policy [better] than it was before.'