The working group formed to review changes to the university’s alcohol policy finalized its recommendations this week, which largely preserve a new limit on kegs at campus parties and stricter punishments for repeated violations.

After months of debate over the new keg regulations, which limit students living in on-campus housing to one keg per party, the group voted to preserve the limit for most university apartments but to allow residents of townhouses and Village A apartments with access to a patio or rooftop to have two kegs.

James Welsh, the assistant vice president for student health and a co-chair of the working group, said the group agreed that the size of apartments needed to be taken into account in assessing the limit.

“A one-keg limit in houses that could have larger parties would almost guarantee that things other than beer would be consumed,” he said.

The group also voted to preserve harsher punishments for repeated alcohol policy violations, which could potentially include suspension after the third violation. To alleviate student concern over that possibility, they recommended refining the language of the Student Code of Conduct to more clearly describe disciplinary results and developed a Frequently Asked Questions document to explain the policy to students.

“It has been clear that this has not been a three-strikes-you’re-out policy,” Welsh said, adding that the changed language will reduce confusion over the policy. He added that no students have been suspended in the past year due to alcohol policy violations.

att Stoller (COL ’08), the other co-chair, said the group wanted to clarify that action against alcohol policy violations would be taken on a case-by-case basis, which could still include suspension.

“We don’t want to completely take that off the table,” Stoller said, “but we want to make it clear that there’s not one punishment that fits all.”

The working group, which came together last November in response to widespread student outcry over the policy changes, met six times to discuss possible changes. Its members included eight students representing organizations such as GERMS, Residence Life and Interhall, and eight faculty members and administrators, including representatives from the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Student Conduct.

In addition to its recommendations on kegs and disciplinary sanctions, the group called for changes to the university’s policy on alcohol paraphernalia that would allow students over 21 to possess and use beer pong tables. The recommendation would preserve the ban on beer funnels, however, and participation in drinking games could still be used against students in assessing disciplinary sanctions.

The recommendations also maintain the current regulation limiting students in alcohol-free dorms to two empty alcohol containers for decorative purposes.

Addressing the issue of party registration, the group suggested that a group of students and administrators gather over the summer for further discussion of a time by which students must register a Friday- or Saturday-night party.

“[The Office of] Residence Life and DPS make a compelling case that it is important to determine what parties are going on,” Welsh said, noting the importance of involving DPS in any serious discussions over registration guidelines.

The recommendations, which the group voted unanimously to approve, will now be forwarded to the Disciplinary Review Committee and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, who holds the final say over all changes to the Code of Conduct. On Monday, the GUSA Senate voted to endorse the recommendations.

Although the group’s vote was unanimous, some on the panel raised questions about changes to the one-keg limit, Welsh said, especially administrators who insisted upon keeping a close eye on the situation.

The group presented its recommendations to the DRC yesterday. Stoller and Welsh said that Olson has been very receptive to the changes and to continued student and administrative input.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.