Security talks to SGA
Student Government Association (SGA) members met to review old policies and initiate new clubs Sunday, September 26. Jed Wartman, SGA faculty advisor and Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Life, oversaw the meeting, and Head of Security Jeff Coombs also attended.
A preliminary run-through of SGA's September checklist clarified various articles of unfinished business. For one, Committee Coordinator Nicole Murakami '11 announced that the committees were "almost done," with several positions yet to be filled:â€ˆ2014 Class Presidents, Off-Campus Representative and a number of dorm presidencies. Voting started online on Tuesday, September 28 and election results will be announced Wednesday, September 29 at 5 p.m. Other SGA-related updates included the organization's continuing endeavor to renovate common rooms (the sites of renovations will be determined by dorm damage rates) and its effort to make DVDs more available on campus. Redbox did not approve the College's request to place a kiosk in Pulver, and SGA is now looking to petition Blockbuster and Netflix for rental kiosks. Students discussed an expansion the library's existing collection of movies as a possible alternative to this initiative.
Coombs also fielded questions and comments from SGA members. One dorm president began the conversation by asking about a "new rule" stating that if a student is vomiting in a bathroom, the CA is required to call security. Although other student representatives were surprised to hear about this requirement, Coombs replied that "this is not a new policy," he acknowledged it was not widespread knowledge on campus and that more students should be made aware of this policy.
Next, Coombs clarified the college's policy on room searches: "They are extremely rare, but if it is incident-based, officers can look around and see if [alcohol or drugs are] visible. But we will not have officers going through anything else [in the room]." He also reported that during this past weekend, students made three alcohol-related trips to the hospital, one on Friday and two on Saturday. The weekend before, he was proud to announce, "there were none." Still, despite, this year's hard-alcohol ban, though, security is still logging emergency room trips related to hard alcohol.
Finally, Coombs stressed that "security would like to dispel the idea that calling for help will result in write-ups for the masses. It will not necessarily [do so]. For example, [one week] there were 30 interactions with open containers, but not one of them resulted in an incident report. This is because all 30 were cooperative and admitted to the mistake." SGA members went on to ask about registered parties, the contract of which the organization is currently working to renew. SGA and security both seemed very eager to encourage more registered parties.They also agreed that this year's dorm damage is on track to be much lower than to last year's, which represented one of the highest--if not the highest--amount of dorm damage in the College's history.
Before Coombs left the meeting, Class of 2012 President Tracey Tomlinson inquired about the outcome of the Spring 2010 incident in which a female student was attacked on-campus by an anonymous male. Coombs solemnly responded: "that incident really just hit a dead end. I personally worked with a detective from Waterville and nothing came out of it."
Later in the meeting, the Colby Ringers, the College's handbell group, received unanimous approval to officially become a campus club. SGA also passed MulePAC's petition with a majority vote. MulePAC, a peer advisory group founded by Tory Gray '11 and Charlotte Wilder '11 focuses on addressing students' issues with social life at the College. Gray and Wilder appeared at the meeting to answer questions from SGA members about mentor training, its mission statement and its distinction from other existing clubs. The two seniors explained to the board that "MulePAC is here as a non-judgmental, totally confidential group for students to come talk to. We think it's about time that we have something there for students."
Before the vote, Foss President Daniel Echt '11 pointed out that the club seemed similar to the College's current Alcoholics' Anonymous group. However, according to the MulePAC representatives, "This [program] isn't necessarily about alcohol."
Drummond Dorm President Charlotte Olena '12 furthered Echt's question by asking, "What makes MulePAC different from the other counseling resources [on campus], like COOT2 leaders, CAs or Dorm Presidents?" The representatives explained that "we are different in that we don't carry any weight as necessary authority figures: we don't live in your dorm; we won't be knocking on your door asking you to quiet down. We are just there as students for students, and nothing else."
Executive board member and Publicity Chair Justin Rouse '12 defended the program. "I just want it to be clear that this is about more than just alcohol," he said. "There is going to be very structured training for this program. These girls have worked tirelessly for months to make this happen, and there will be a very strict code of conduct in place--if the mentors get in any sort of trouble regarding alcohol, they're off."