Section: News

With no small party registration, new policy is foggy

With no small party registration, new policy is foggy

After last weekend saw the new small gathering policy in action, students are expressing confusion about what exactly the updated policy mandates.

The “small gathering policy” contains new changes announced over the summer, most notably that the College no longer requires students to register smaller gatherings in their residential spaces. Due to a percieved lack of communication from administrators about the recent changes, some students are now unsure how to best avoid documentation for violations.

Student Council President Phillip Gray Clark ’17 said he was disappointed with the new policy’s implementation.

“I feel that there was a lack of clarity from the Office of Student Engagement and the Office of Housing and Residential Life to the people enforcing this new policy,” he said. Clark was one of several students that joined Laura Kane, director of student engagment, and Bob Hooper, Director of Campus Safety, to decide on policy updates. Clark said the responses of CAs and Safety Officers concerning the policy varied greatly. “[This] is very unsafe with the new policy,” Clark said. “It seems everyone’s confused.”

Kane also acknowledged widespread confusion, and said she had already discussed the new policy with a group of administrators after last weekend. 

Claire Tomasi ’17 misses the old party policy. She is puzzled over how many people she can host at a party, with small parties no longer requiring registration.

“Nobody really knows what’s going on,” Tomasi said, referring to the changes in  policy. “Different groups have different ideas of what it is — so what is it?”

Director of Housing and Residential Life Jill Engel-Hellman said the removal of the small-party registration policy will diminish confusion over general party policies. She added that the layers of party policy had caused Housing and ResLife to lose sight of why they had originally created the registration requirement.

The new guidelines for student parties were distributed to Community Advisors (CAs), and two “social” party host trainings have already taken place. Training reviewed basic rules for hosting parties on campus and discussed the capacity of rooms and bystander intervention. Students can find their room capacity on the Kenyon website by taking the square footage of their residential area, dividing that number by 20 and then rounding down.

Engel-Hellman believes omitting the registration policy exposes students to more realistic life situations. “If you’re the host, you’re responsible for what happens,” she said.

In terms of clearing up the confusion, Clark said he was awaiting an email from Kane and Engel-Hellman with clear expectations and their plans for implementing and enforcing the new policy. Clark also hopes CAs and Campus Safety will receive more guidance on how they are expected to monitor parties. “They can’t do their job if they’re not being told what they’re supposed to do,” he said.

Amy Schatz also contributed reporting.

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