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Email clarifies interim alcohol policy changes

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

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.



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