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Campus alcohol policy slated to change

Campus Council may grant upperclassmen more social freedom

by Gina Chirsto, News Editor

The college Judicial committee† is still in the process of reviewing the campus alcohol policy. While first-year dorms are to remain dry, other residential halls around campus may be given the option of a new place to hang out and socialize with alcoholic beverages in hand.

According to the Scots’ Key, a lounge is dry until two-thirds of students in that residence vote it wet. This voting system led to odd situations, including those under 21 voting on whether or not their lounge would be wet and students campaigning for one way or the other. Creating a hall conflict that could be time consuming and agitative, students brought the issue to Campus Council.† Campus Council then asked the judicial committee to evaluate the issue and proposed improvements they saw necessary.

After much discussion, the Campus Council Judicial Committee has devised a system in which the college designates whether a lounge is social space or a study space. This means that a lounge that is a social lounge is where students may have alcohol if they are of the proper age and the size of the group is not too outrageous; a study lounge would prohibit the presence and consumption of alcohol. In the evaluation of lounges on campus, the committee has found some “in between” lounges which they are unsure how to label. The Babcock dining room is one of these “in between” rooms the committee is looking into. This hall could be host to a classy wine and cheese dinner but it has also been host to some strictly alcohol-free events. In this case, they would designate it as reservable and one could apply through the school to have an approved event including alcohol.

While discussion of the new policy generally went smoothly, the council hit a bump when it came to discussing terminology. Erica Morgan ’11 said,† “It was a little controversial at the beginning as to whether or not we should change the process, but continued feedback from students helped us decide that the voting system really wasn’t the best option. Now that we’ve decided to designate ësocial’ and ëstudy’ it has been pretty obvious what designations to make,” she said.

The main objective for change with this initiative is to promote responsible alcohol consumption on campus. Because these changes will be benefitting both students and the administration alike, it is believed that these changes will face little criticism in the upcoming approval process. For the committee, the changes in the alcohol policy are not just about being able to drink in certain lounges. If all things go accordingly, they hope to see an improvement in furniture and furnishings to make the spaces feel like a social lounge or an academic lounge. Morgan, a member of Judicial Committee, is particularly excited about the† groups senior living experiencing plan. Similar to first year housing, seniors will sign up to be housed in dorms that are designated for seniors only. In these dorms, alcohol would be open for responsible use throughout the entire building. Placing the responsibility back in students’ hands would not only be a great perk of being a senior but it could alleviate unnecessary judicial action.

The Judicial Committee working on the designation system was comprised of students, faculty and administration, including representatives from Residence Life. The discussion was intended to be as inclusive as possible in order to make sure the execution of the plan was realistic. The new designation system will be proposed by Judicial Committee and voted on by Campus Council. If all goes well, the system will be approved by both Campus Council and the President, to be implemented by next semester. If there are any questions, students are encouraged to reach out to a J-board committee member.

 

Students who feel passionate about this issue can contact Erica Morgam (emorgan11@wooster.edu) before their 11:00 meetings on Tuesday.

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