by Victoria Ungvarsky with reporting contributed by Julia Waldow
What’s the best way to spend a Friday night? Figuring out the new regulations to the party policy.
The College has formed a new committee to review Kenyon’s party policy. This commitee, headed by Associate Dean of Students Tacci Smith and featuring students, faculty and administrators, will update the policy established in 2011 to ensure it is in line with the needs of both the College and its students.
“It’s kind of every four, five, six-ish years,” Smith said about the frequency of the updates. “We sort of look at if there’s a reason … that require[s] us to make changes.”
A student death of acute alcohol poising and hypothermia in 2005 prompted the creation of the party policy, which received minimal updates in 2008. In 2011, the College established a committee to formally update it. This new panel will meet through this semester and in the fall, with the goal of implementing a revised policy in 2016.
The 2011 update focused primarily on large parties, including party training. This update will likely address policies for smaller parties, such as those thrown in apartments. “For little parties in people’s rooms … there’s not a whole lot of guidelines for those,” Smith said. “That is because we wanted those to be sort of organic and easy and fun and that’s happening, but the numbers are getting really large.”
Smith is adamant that large parties will remain on campus. “We like big parties,” she said. “The whole point is that [all-campus parties are] a better space because there’s more people to help [be] eyes and ears. It’s easier because it’s usually only beer parties — they’re in spaces that can hold a lot of people.” Smith also works with national Greek organizations to help balance Kenyon policies with the desires of the national groups. “A lot of those risk management policies [at national greek organizations] want parties to be BYOB and so I work with those nationals to say we cannot do BYOB.” Kenyon provides alcohol so it can better monitor the amount served at parties, and therefore, to the students.
All-campus parties can only serve wine or beer, as they have relatively low alcohol content, and drinks must be served by a sober bartender over legal drinking age. Registered all-campus parties must provide alcohol, rather than run on a bring-your-own-beer system, so Campus Safety can regulate the amount at the party. With hard alcohol, found at smaller parties, it is much easier for students to drink too much. “Almost all of our alcohol poisonings so far this year have been hard alcohol,” Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper said. Even so, Hooper said it is unlikely that hard alcohol would be banned on campus. “If that were to happen, I think there would be other factors that would have to come into play,” he said. “Do I see it coming imminently? No.”
The committee had its first meeting this past week and will continue to meet throughout the year to finalize an updated policy.