At the beginning of this year, like any other, students of all classes and dorm living situations were brought together for mandatory meetings with their resident advisors and the directors of residence life to discuss school alcohol policies. Most of the information was the same run-through of what students have been told at the start of every year. However; this year, residence life staff shared with students that there were slight changes in the alcohol policies involving common source alcohol and the tools and containers often used for rapid consumption in order to make things more clear.
Director of Residence Life, Holly Banning, addressed the topic by saying, “Last spring, student affairs staff held four focus group sessions to discuss alcohol policies with SHC students.” The students represented various groups on campus, including the Student Government Association, which has representatives from each class. The updated policies have been implemented in the handbook for all dorm buildings on campus, excluding the freshman halls, which should not be affected one way or another since they are dry-buildings. According to residence life and community standards, the change occurs in the wording of prohibited conduct.
The rule states, “possessing a common source of alcohol (e.g., kegs, coolers, or equivalent quantities of ‘pooled’ alcohol,” are prohibited on campus. In another section, it states that “Beer pong tables (purchased or hand-made), funnels, bongs, bars, and other devices used for the rapid consumption of alcoholic beverage is prohibited.” A common response that students have to this new policy is that there is no difference between a cooler and refrigerator. They question, why is one allowed and not the other? In response to this, Holly Banning stated, “providing students with alcohol out of a cooler fits within the definition of common source alcohol.”
This rule is not a new one, the wording has just been tweaked in order to provide students with a more clear understanding of what exactly is included in “possession of common source alcohol.” She explains that Residence Life felt that the new wording would, “help the students understand more clearly that the policy included coolers—that having a cooler was not a way around the common source alcohol policy.” Students find concern with the policy, stating that there is no issue with using coolers and it should be possible to have a folding table without it being deemed a beer pong table.
In reference to beer pong and folding tables, the answer is the same, all policies are consistent with what they were before, the wording has just been tweaked. Beer pong tables, specifically, have always been prohibited; however, the difference now is that any folding table that could be used for beer pong or any other games involving rapid consumption are banned. “We want our students to have a good time, but we also want them to abide by the law and remain safe,” says Holly Banning in reference to the new policies. “I feel strongly that the safety of our students is of the utmost importance.”
When asked if there was a specific reason that the wording changed, Holly Banning responded, “The new wording in the alcohol policies were meant to address rapid consumption devices on campus, we are really seeing a positive trend in the number of incidents, hospital transports, and calls for heavily intoxicated individuals, which was the administration’s goal all along.”