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UCS, admins discuss interim alcohol policy

Klawunn, Shiner, Tompkins address issues surrounding alcohol on campus

Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn fielded questions and concerns about the University’s interim alcohol policy and the clarification email sent Friday at the Undergraduate Council of Students general body meeting Wednesday. Tim Shiner, director of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center and student activities, and Kate Tompkins, assistant director of Residential Life also responded to inquiries.

In response to enforcement concerns raised by UCS Academic and Administrative Affairs Chair Elena Saltzman ’16, Klawunn said Residential Peer Leaders and the Department of Public Safety received no new instructions besides “the same set of protocols that we had in place” before the interim alcohol policy’s implementation. “We’re hoping to improve the policies that we have,” Klawunn said, adding that the interim alcohol policy is part of a broader and more public conversation on campus safety.

Shiner said it is important for the University to review its policies “as a matter of course,” adding that the last major review of sexual assault policy came in 2006 following a major case. “The difference is not that we’re talking about it, but frankly that you’re paying attention,” he said, regarding the student body.

Concern surfaced at the meeting over the interim alcohol policy’s stipulation that student groups hold registered large scale events with alcohol service in approved campus spaces.

Justice Gaines ’16, a UCS general body member, said this mandate could discourage students from reporting sexual misconduct incidents if they thought an organization could be “just as culpable as the individual.”

Registration policies are intended to protect organizations’ liability as well as individual safety, Shiner said.

Tompkins said she does not anticipate a dip in the number of students joining Greek and program housing, as the rush process has always been dry. Sorority rush numbers are already up this year, she added.

Klawunn said the interim alcohol policy is “really not about image,” but rather about the personal safety of students on and off campus.

UCS Admissions and Student Services Chair Ryan Lessing ’17 introduced the general body to WTF Brown, or “What to Fix Brown,” the council’s new online feedback forum on the UCS website and Facebook page, where undergraduates can post or vote on suggestions for campus improvements and see progress updates on those ideas from UCS. The platform has already seen student suggestions such as replacing electric dryers with paper towels in bathrooms and building swings on the Main Green.

To ensure user accountability, the platform is “very explicitly not anonymous,” Lessing said. Students must log in through their Brown accounts before posting and voting. They can vote for a single post up to three times, and ideally they will make concrete suggestions, Lessing added.

Members of the UCS Executive Board updated the general body on each committee’s progress this week.

In anticipation of meeting with Provost Vicki Colvin later this month, the UCS Campus Life Committee is preparing to present dining feedback, focusing on the Sharpe Refectory in light of a Feb. 3 Herald editorial, said Walker Mills ’15, the committee chair and a former Herald opinions columnist. Mills added that he hopes to meet with Senior Associate Dean of Residential Life and Dining Services Richard Bova to discern how they can best support the increase of students in temporary housing this semester.

The UCS Outreach and Advocacy Committee met Tuesday to debrief on student reception of the new partnerships with ROTC units at the College of the Holy Cross that passed by a faculty vote Tuesday, particularly focusing on transgender inclusion, said Sazzy Gourley ’16, UCS vice president and chair of the committee.



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