AMP policy aims to increase student safety

by Joyce Lee | 10/15/15 8:55pm

Administrators involved with the development of the new Alcohol Management Procedures — to be implemented Oct. 19 — said that they hope the policy will make events safer, but they are also willing to work with students and hear any concerns that may arise.

The new policy will allow for events with mixed types of alcohol, excluding hard alcohol. Events will also be classified under three tiers — tier one events, defined as those with under 40 attendees or are members-only, will be managed by the event organizers for both security and bartending, and require prior online registration. Tier two events, defined as those with 40-150 attendees, will be required to have a minimum of two Training for Intervention Procedures trained bartenders, two Safety and Security walk-throughs and the required online registration. Tier three events, defined as those with over 150 attendees, will also require prior registration and two Safety and Security walkthroughs, as well as the presence of AMP-trained bartending staff and Green Mountain Security. Third-party security required for tier three events will be subsidized half by the College and half by the organization hosting the event.

The cost of security and bartending for social events should not deter organizations from hosting, associate dean of student life Eric Ramsey said.

“We’re not trying to price people out of having a social event. We just recognize that some social events require more cost to make sure it’s a safe and responsible event,” Ramsey said. “If financial issues present themselves for any organization, they should really just reach out and talk to us.”

Senior associate dean of student affairs Liz Agosto said that AMP would be conscious about differences in financial means for different organizations.

“This is not meant to limit parties to only organizations that can afford it, and so we will be watching very curiously and figuring out ways to aid groups that might not be able to always afford the bartenders or securities,” Agosto said.

The new alcohol policy will also concentrate more on the health and safety of students, rather than the actual amount or types of alcohol present at events, Ramsey said.

“If it’s a tier three event with supervision making sure students are making healthy and safe decisions, they can make those decisions regardless of the alcohol type,” Ramsey said.

The former co-chair of the social event and alcohol management group Taylor Watson ’16 said that students were also extensively involved in the drafting of the new policy.

“It was half staff, half student, and it was very much open debate — the committee was not dominated by one side or the other. We, obviously, as students, had more perspectives on how the alcohol policy was actually working, but it was a balanced discussion,” Watson said.

From his perspective as Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity’s 2014 summer president, Watson said he foresees a reduced amount of stress for event organizers due to the new policy. Under the old policy, there had been events that were not registered with the College in hopes of avoiding worries about the amount of alcohol present or door duty operations. The main concern was being caught, Watson said.

“Where before, [when I was president], I would be concerned about the amount of alcohol and whether it was in violation of the College policy, we’ve now agreed to what is a reasonable amount,” Watson said. “When Safety and Security does show up for an event, my only concern would be whether we’re doing door duties correctly, whether bartenders are sober and doing their jobs correctly — all of which should be concerns anyway for organizations regarding the safety and health of students.”

Greek-affiliated students are mostly seeing the policy as a compromise, with more scrutiny from the College on events accepted in exchange for a more liberal approach on what is considered a reasonable amount of alcohol, Watson said.

Greek Leadership Council vice chair David Bassali ’16 said that he was excited for the focus on student health over regulatory distinctions. He saw the strict number cutoff for attendees of an event as a negative part of the proposal, however, as an event could be elevated from tier one to tier two with one additional attendee.

“I’m perfectly fine about the College being more involved,” Bassali said. “My hope is just that when Safety and Security does do their two walkthroughs, their primary concerns are student health and safety and away from legalistic definitions of alcohol management.”

Despite the number cutoff, however, Bassali said he did not see the new policy as reason for an increase in exclusivity for certain events.

“I don’t think that there’s going to be any selectivity in terms of selecting certain people to get in and not get in. I think it’s just going to be a numbers game — if you show up too late, you’ll be turned away,” Bassali said. “People are just going to have to plan ahead of time. If you don’t want more than 150 people in your house, you’re going to have to be willing to turn people away.”

The emphasis on the number cutoff and the increased financial cost for security was to ultimately help students feel safe and included, Agosto said.

“The goal really is that having these safety measures at an event should make more people feel safe, comfortable and welcome where they might not have felt so otherwise,” Agosto said. “In that, we think this would raise the inclusivity of events.”

The administrators behind the new alcohol policy are aware of student concerns and are willing to work with students to improve procedures, Ramsey said.

“We’ve see a lot of alcohol policies come and go at Dartmouth, but this is one I want to see work. We can’t get everything right, so this will take tweaking as time goes on,” Ramsey said. “That said, a large part of this policy is transparency. So students need to come into the office and talk about issues that need to be resolved. That’s the whole basis of the policy. If students are coming in and describing a plan that’s very different from what’s playing out at their house, then that’s a problem that will have to be resolved as the policy moves forward.”

Agosto said that AMP will be debriefing with organizations at the end of fall term to see the effects of the policy, and that this will be a continual conversation over the course of the year. They will also be working with students to see how the policy affects activities and events, as well as how students engage with the social scene.

“So far, we’ve been seeing a positive reception from students, and a willingness to partner, and we’re hoping that this will continue on so that this works for our students and our community,” Agosto said.