First MDF policy changes will take effect in spring

by Jasmine Sachar and Rebecca Asoulin | 3/9/15 8:27pm

This spring term will usher in the implementation of several of the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” policies announced on Jan. 29 by College President Phil Hanlon as planning continues for initiatives that will be introduced in the fall. Many students have already voiced concerns regarding the implementation of policies, ranging from dialogue on campus surrounding the hard alcohol policy sanctions to a petition signed by over 50 undergraduate advisors about their evolving role under the policy.

Student and expert reaction to details of the implementation of the hard alcohol ban, released on March 3, has largely been negative. The College will implement harsher punishments for the possession of hard alcohol, while consequences for the consumption and possession of wine and beer will remain the same. A student found in possession of or to have consumed hard alcohol will be put on probation for a first-offense, a one-term suspension for a second offense and a two-term suspension for a third offense.

Social chairs and other Greek organization leaders who sign registration forms for events that are found to serve hard alcohol will be held responsible as individuals, in addition to sanctions placed on the organization.

The College has yet to announce further information regarding the specifics of the policy requiring bartenders and bouncers at events hosted by College-recognized organizations.

Under the new alcohol policy, the College will require undergraduate advisors to complete inspection rounds of residence halls on “likely drinking nights” — Wednesday through Saturday. In response to this policy change, over 50 UGAs have signed a petition voicing their concerns with what the new role could entail. Some of the concerns broached in the petition are beliefs that the increase in rounds will work to “erode” the sense of community on floors and will put too many demands on UGAs.

Senior assistant dean for residential life and director of residential education Michael Wooten will hold a meeting today with UGAs to discuss and clarify what the new rounds policy will entail.

The petition also states that UGAs were not adequately consulted in the formation of the new rounds policy. Wooten could not be reached by press time.

Jess Ma ’16, who signed the petition, said that as a freshmen UGA, her role has been to create a environment where residents can come to her as a friend. This new policy sets up the UGA as an authoritative figure from the start, she said, and can thus inhibit community-building.

Ma also voiced concerns over how effective the new rounds policy would be, since residents can hide their alcohol and UGAs cannot enter and search rooms if no alcohol is visible.

The petition mentions that UGAs have not been notified of any increases in their compensation, even though this new rounds policy will ramp up hours on the job.

Clara Wang ’17, a UGA who signed the petition, said that no UGAs have any details yet of what the new rounds policy will entail, as these specifics will be discussed at the meeting today. She said she signed the petition mainly out of the concern that implementing frequent rounds could affect the relationship she has with her residents.

“When you have residents that like to party, it’s hard to maintain the role of someone they can come to, and by instituting rounds, it changes the UGA role to more of a monitoring role rather than someone who gets along with their residents and who is there for their residents no matter what,” she said.

Wang later followed up saying that she was not making a commentary on the exact policy changes.

Undergraduate advisor Claire Pendergrast ’15 said that she hopes to find out the details of what will be expected of UGAs at the meeting tomorrow, though she declined to comment further until after the meeting.

In anticipation of the implementation of a slate of new social policies, three working groups focused on student and organization standards and review, social event and alcohol management and community citizenship began meeting in the final week of February.

Each working group consists of two chairs as well as additional College community members including students and staff who will meet regularly and will submit final proposals by the end of spring term.

Assistant dean and director of case management Kristi Clemens and Taylor Watson ’16 chair the social event and alcohol management group. Watson said that his group is still in the early research phases of looking at old policies, and will not release its recommendations until late spring.

The community citizenship working group is chaired by director of judicial affairs Leigh Remy and computer science department chair Tom Cormen. Greek Letter Organizations and Societies Standards and Management assistant director Sam Waltemeyer, along with Collis Center director of student activities Anna Hall, will chair the student organization standards and review working group.

All chairs were selected based on recommendations from the Dean of the College’s office.

Announcements before the end of spring term will include the appointment of professors who will serve in each of the six new residential communities. Applications for the four-year position were due to the Office of the Provost by March 1.

Director of Safety and Security Harry Kinne has said that enforcement of alcohol policies would not see any major changes. He noted that officers will confiscate hard alcohol wherever they see it including if it is in the possession of those 21 years or older. Safety and Security will also break up all parties serving hard alcohol.

Kinne has noted that the Good Samaritan policy will remain the same, while students have expressed concern that the ban would lead to more underground drinking and make students hesitate to use the Good Samaritan policy.

Student Assembly, Palaeopitus senior society and the Office of the President held a town meeting on March 2 to address questions surrounding the policy. The panel was comprised of Hanlon, Interim Dean of the College Inge-Lise Ameer, Provost Carolyn Dever and Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno.

A March 3 panel on academic rigor featuring many of those who served on the presidential steering committee for “Moving Dartmouth Forward” attempted to address some student concerns regarding making campus a more intellectual environment.

Rebecca Asoulin is an undergraduate advisor and did not interview or report on any undergraduate advisors for this story.

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