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Former Campus Council member explains several sources of party policy confusion

Sarah Carracher

News Editor

The College’s revision of its party policy last academic year has caused extensive confusion among students about what they are and are not allowed to do in relation to parties and alcohol on campus.

Wooster students are largely unaware that there was a policy in place before the current one. “The overall idea of this policy has been in the Scot’s Key since about 20 years ago, and it just stopped being enforced,” said Noël Mellor ’15, former chair of the Campus Council (CC) Judicial Committee, which worked on the party policy at the end of the 2012-13 academic year and for almost all of the 2013-14 academic year.

“I think [the administration and CC] were worried about a lot of issues so they wanted to revise it, because the other one was over the top,” Mellor continued. For example, according to Mellor, the old Scot’s Key mandated that every party that served alcohol have staff from the Underground bar tend. Since a party policy for college campuses is required by law, the goal of the committee was to create a revised party policy that would be reasonable and easy to implement.

The CC Judicial Committee, though it worked on the policy, did not create every point that is listed on the party monitor and policy form that student groups have to submit before they have permission to host a party. The policy in the Scot’s Key refers students to the party monitor policy information form.

“Some of it we talked about … but never officially discussed,” Mellor said of the information and requirements listed on the form. “We mainly focused on wording in the Scot’s Key … because the idea was that legally, the campus has to have a policy and the one that was in the previous Scot’s Key wasn’t being followed.”

When the Party Monitor Policy was passed last October, Greek groups were still living in houses, so there are now two different policies: first, a policy for parties hosted in residence halls and other spaces (Douglass basement, Luce basement, the Underground, etc.) by Greek groups or other student organizations; and second, a policy for parties hosted in houses. However, the house party policy is not official school policy.

“It was hard because that was when most parties were happening in houses, and it’s a little easier because there’s usually only one entrance people can come in,” Mellor said, referring to the stipulation on the party monitor policy information form that there must be one party monitor per access point into the building. “The problem is we had kind of stopped talking about this policy and had already voted on it when Greeks got moved back into dorms. We made the policy thinking that most events that happened on campus … happened in houses in general.”

“This is such a big transition, and nobody’s used to partying in those public spaces. We’re kind of just winging it,” Mellor continued.

“I do agree with the idea of having party monitors because it’s good to have a sober pair of eyes at an event,” said Mellor, who has been a party monitor for her sorority, Delta Theta Psi. “I don’t think it’s being implemented as what I envisioned and I don’t know if it can be exactly … The idea was that these [party monitors] were point people that Security was going to form relationships with. Sometimes even on this small campus we don’t have the best relationship with Security and I think those are people that it’s good to have a good relationship with, because Security is here to protect us … The idea behind it was forming that relationship, but letting the students take responsibility.”

Mellor hoped that having a policy that gave students responsibility would help them to build a friendly relationship with Security, which would dispel their fears of getting in trouble.

“I don’t feel like we as a committee did the best job,” Mellor said. “We started introducing [the policy] last year without completely enforcing it to get people used to it … Obviously things have changed because public spaces are being used now so it was kind of hard to get used to the policy, so I think some people feel like it was just implemented all of a sudden.”

Many students and student organizations are afraid of getting in trouble because they simply aren’t clear on what the policy is or how it is being implemented. “Even I, who was on the committee when it was being formed, don’t understand all the ins and outs of it. It’s really hard,” Mellor said. We’ve never partied in basements of residence halls before.”

Mellor, as a party monitor, understands that students may not always feel comfortable denying access to non-students to parties.

“A group of football players walked up, and I knew them,” she said. “They were all really nice guys, but even if I hadn’t known them, I’m not that big of a person. I’m not going to tell someone twice my height ‘you can’t come in.’”

“I think sometimes we as students don’t like change. I think people just hear snips of it and take it to the extreme, but if you look through it and try to understand it, it’s not that extreme,” Mellor explained. Students are not used to having a set of guidelines to follow for parties; now that there is a clear set of guidelines, it appears that fear of getting in trouble has increased among students. “To the students’ credit, communication has been lacking on it as well. I sat on this committee for two years and I’m still kind of confused on some of the rule enforcements.”

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