C.O.W. Clarifies Inconsistent Conduct Enforcement

Aspen Rush

Editor in Chief

 

The clarification follows a series of conduct violations that were questioned by students.

Since the beginning of the fall semester, student conduct and gathering guidelines have been unclear to many students on campus. To clarify campus policies, Johnathon Reynolds, director of residence life, sent an email to the student body explaining Student Conduct policies. While the Scot’s Key’s rules and regulations have not changed since 2017, the College’s enforcement of these guidelines has changed dramatically since the beginning of this semester. 

Many students identify shifts within administration as the root of these changes. Since the Director of Students Rights and Responsibilities and Assistant Director, Deputy Title IX Coordinator Amy Franklin-Craft took her position during the Fall 2020 school year, much of the frustration has been directed toward her. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic social restrictions lessened and the College started to allow large outdoor gatherings, Craft’s responsibilities have shifted from preventative COVID-19 measures to campus social life. As such, miscommunications between administrative bodies and students regarding policy enforcement have arisen. Despite these policies being present in the Scot’s Key since 2017, upperclassmen have expressed significant confusion since these policies have only recently been enforced. As a result, students have been subject to unexpected conduct violations. Two student houses currently have pending cases regarding policy violations. 

Frank Adams ’22, noticed the stark change in the College’s student conduct and party policies this semester.  “This year the school has started enforcing policies that make it very unclear what is allowed or not,” Adams said “[as] they are busting parties for noise complaints when in years past the same rule applied … I am not sure why that has changed now.”

Adam also expressed concern about student’s ability to build community, “Parties allow students who, without clubs or Greek life, wouldn’t have been able to meet each other. Especially for queer students who are looking for a space where they will not be harassed.”

Scot Council class representative and Student Conduct committee officer Rachel Catus ’22 expressed concerns regarding administrative communication. Catus meets with administrative staff on a weekly basis to discuss student concerns. “Through working on Scot Council, I have seen how it is clear that there is often confusion or misinformation being spread due to a lack of consistent functioning,” Catus said, “and as a result this brings down the quality of life for the student body.” Craft is in conversations with Scot Council, working to resolve some of this miscommunication.

To clarify the increasing confusion regarding conduct violations, Reynolds sent an email on behalf of campus leadership addressing common questions amongst students. In his email, Reynolds outlined party protocols. 

The intent of these protocols are not to eliminate on-campus parties but to allow parties with safety in mind. For small gatherings of less than 25 people with no alcohol present do not need to be registered with the College. Large gatherings of more than 25 people with no alcohol present do not need to be registered, but hosts must call into Campus Safety to make them aware of the event.

Small gatherings of less than 25 people with  alcohol present do not need to be registered. Large gatherings of more than 25 people and alcohol  must be registered with the College.

Wednesday gatherings must be submitted the Friday prior, Thursday gatherings must be submitted by the Monday prior, Friday gatherings must be submitted the Tuesday prior, and Saturday gatherings must be submitted the Wednesday prior.

In addition to registering large gatherings, students must have a number of Party Positive trained students in attendance. The number of trained students required to be present is determined by the size and location of the event. 

Reynolds also clarified quiet hours in his email, noting that the hours started from 12 a.m. and not 11 p.m., as students across campus were previously informed. “The College of Wooster quiet hours coincide with the City of Wooster noise ordinance. Please note, students are expected to comply with reasonable requests to contain noise upon request during non-quiet hours. This change will be made to the Scots Key to reflect the 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. hours.

The email also detailed information regarding events that had to be registered. While the Scot’s Key has always required large gatherings with alcohol to be registered with the College, it was not enforced before this year. Add quote During the weekend of Sept. 17, four large gatherings were forced to disperse by Campus Safety officers. In contrast to previous years, students have moved many of their social gatherings to outdoor spaces to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, an increase in noise complaints and the recent execution of City noise ordinances have arisen in response to the outdoor parties. 

Black and Gold Weekend:

While students navigate new conduct and gathering policies, on Tuesday, Sept. 21, the COVID-19 Task Force released updated rules to the Campus Community for Black and Gold Weekend. Held on Sept. 24 and 25, more than 1,000 parents and alumni will return to campus for the annual festivities. 

In order to mitigate a potential outbreak, visitors will not be allowed in select locations and Masks must be worn at all times when indoors. Visitors will not be allowed in classrooms while classes are taking place, in dining halls, in residential spaces and in the Underground. Knowlton Café will remain open to visitors as it does not require swipe access. In addition to these restrictions, indoor events have a limited capacity and require registration.

 “There seems to be a distinct lack of communication between the different branches of administration,” Catus noted.

The Voice reached out to Craft for comments; however, we did not receive a response by the time this issue was sent out to print.