The Athletic Program will no longer support registered alcoholic events hosted by athletic teams, according to an email signed by Peter Smith, director of athletics, and Kelly Bryan, head women’s soccer coach on Sept. 21.
In doing so, the College will begin enforcing a policy that has been in place for the past 11 years. Smith said no specific incidents led to this change, which will affect annual all-campus parties like the swim team’s “Shock your Mom” party and the “Stache Bash” party hosted by the men’s soccer team. The teams will likely host these events without serving alcohol, which is allowed, but some student athletes believe this will just lead to more problems.
The policy requires an administrative “sponsor” to sign off on party requests from sports teams, because the teams are not recognized as student organizations in the same way Greek organizations or campus clubs are. Additionally, the hosting team has to provide an account number as part of a damage deposit.
Athletic coaches, the obvious team sponsors, have not been willing or able to provide account numbers for damage deposits, according to the email from Smith and Bryan.
Teams often hosted parties anyway by getting signatures from people in the Office of Student Engagement, which goes against the policy. This put the Office of Student Engagement in a risky position in regards to liability, according to Smith’s email.
“In the past, things weren’t meshing with how the party policy is supposed to work,” Smith said. “What we’re trying to do, from the college perspective, for the students, is define how things are supposed to work.”
The policy will now be more strictly enforced, according to the email from Smith and Bryan. Institutions similar to Kenyon are moving towards implementing the model now being enforced at Kenyon, according to the email sent by Smith.
Some students are skeptical about the effects of increased policy enforcement. Sally Huizinga, senior on the Ladies swim team believes sports teams will simply host the parties as dry events, which will cause students to drink more beforehand. “And because it’s non-alcoholic,” she said, “[The teams] won’t have to have door workers or hosts or anything that will help safety, which will make it worse than it has been in past years.”
A senior athlete felt that the changes might not be beneficial for students. The athlete who wished to remain anonymous said “these parties are going to be held in upperclassmen housing, and [the upperclassmen] will just have to take the fall for it.”
The person said “the school and students will not be operating with the same transparency that once made the social life at Kenyon very unique.”
Members of Greek life believe the new enforcement of this policy will also put more stress on their organizations, according to the swimmer.
“This puts an enormous amount of pressure on Greek organizations because they are now the only group that can pay for, supply, and host all-campus parties [with alcohol],” said Huizinga, who is also involved in Greek life.
The Athletic Department’s Strategic Leadership Team, consisting of Smith, Bryan, Associate Athletic Director Amy Williams and Assistant Athletic Director Justin Newell, will continue to have conversations with the Office of Student Engagement about what kinds of registered gatherings sports teams will be able to host.