University News

Email clarifies interim alcohol policy changes

Administrators detail restriction of alcohol service at large gatherings in residence halls

By and
Senior Staff Writers
Friday, January 30, 2015

Following student concern, the Office of Campus Life and Student Services released a campus-wide email Friday clarifying that the the interim policy changes announced Jan. 19 ban alcohol service at large organized events, not informal or individual alcohol consumption by those of legal age, in residence halls this spring.

Large organized events include parties organized by Greek and program houses and events that would require a city permit to serve alcohol, according to the email.

The policy changes are intended to reflect the recommendations in the Task Force on Sexual Assault’s interim report, said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. “We were concerned that conditions where alcohol wasn’t monitored and where there were too many students in a space they weren’t supposed to be in… (contributed) to sexual assault,” she said.

The follow-up email was sent in response to questions that arose from various student groups, Klawunn said. “It made sense to clarify for everybody what the intent was and what the scope is,” she said.

While administrators always consider the policies in place at peer institutions when defining the University’s policies, “this decision was made very specifically about the concerns we had about incidents … this fall and making sure students are safe,” she added.

A committee comprising students, faculty members and administrators will conduct a comprehensive review of the University’s alcohol policies this spring, Klawunn said. “If we start getting strong recommendations from the committee to go in a different direction, we could decide before the end of the semester that these weren’t the right measures to have in place.”

In creating a permanent policy, the University will incorporate student input on the interim policy by hosting community forums and consulting with the Greek Council, the Undergraduate Council of Students, the Brown University Community Council and the Office Residential Life, she said.

Klawunn said she has spoken with Residential Peer Leaders, who have expressed confusion about their role in enforcing the new policy. “It’s the same way we’re always asking them to ensure that their residents are safe,” she said, adding that the University still forbids underage drinking.

The allowance of “informal gatherings” in residence halls has not changed, the email read, since “these gatherings are not considered ‘events’ for the purposes of this policy.”

Student organizations may still host events with attendance exceeding 100 and serve alcohol, provided that they register these events with the Student Activities Office and hold them in approved, non-residential spaces such as the Kasper Multipurpose Room, Sayles Hall and Alumnae Hall.

“The only policy we changed is that we don’t want those events being in residential spaces,” Klawunn said, adding that “it’s harder to keep residential spaces safe.”

Recognized organizations in good standing may also consult their advisors to plan off-campus events, the email read.

Policy regarding off-campus events in private residences also has not changed, and students living off campus are required to obey the Code of Student Conduct and city laws, the email read.

  • Pe Hoots

    Klawunn says that Brown University forbids underaged drinking. Underaged drinking is rife at Brown University. So, either she does not care, or she is ineffective. If only she had a real job, she would be out of a job by now….. So Margaret, can you relate to any of this? What if your kids asked what mommy does each day, and the answer is that mommy shoots her mouth off about who cares what? Do you have any professional pride? (O.K. perhaps that is a silly question. She is not a professional, and she has no pride, professional or otherwise.)

  • Greek Alumni

    Ahh good. The university clarified it has no intention of punishing anyone other than greek students. Where was the 4 year ban and dissolution of the QA after they admitted that SPG facilitated sexual assault? (http://bluestockingsmag.com/2014/09/22/sex-power-god-is-canceled-a-statement-from-the-queer-alliance-coordinating-committee/)

  • Alumni ’97

    The challenge of keeping a healthy social life active at Brown while also making sure that circumstances are not created where sexual assault is likely to happen is a hard one to meet. Unfortunately, the University is using the fear of sexual assault as a platform on which to remove themselves of culpability if sexual assault does occur but not to actually address the cultural problem. By banning Class F parties in Greek and Program Houses, it will force many more parties to occur off campus. These off-campus parties will undoubtedly contain more alcohol, more binge drinking, less supervision, less peer and university oversight, and ultimately may lead to more sexual assaults. However, the school will not be responsible. The vast majority of Greek and Program houses are vigilant about providing a safe, fun, and college-appropriate experience for their partygoers. They check IDs, limit alcohol, monitor behavior, and restrict access. The parties provide a social outlet for students and also helps promote the organizations. This decision, even in a temporary status, will not deter sexual assault or change drinking on the part of Brown students. It may only do the opposite. But the University will be able to wash their hands and plead ignorance.