New party policy in effect

Emphasizing issues of health, safety, and personal responsibility, the committee formed to re-evaluate Williams’ party policy submitted its final plan to the Deans’ office and college attorney on Jan. 18.

The proposed policy incorporates many elements of the old policy and seeks to maintain a vibrant social life in the college community.

The committee is headed by Director of Security Jean Thorndike-Wilson, Assistant Director of Security Dave Boyer along with Thomas McEvoy of Housing, Laini Sporbert of the Health Center, Yolanda Rucker, Activities Intern, and student leaders Mike Ryan ‘98, Kate Ervin ‘99, Leigh Winter ‘99 and Paul “I’m fried, man” Friedmann ‘00.

Like the old policy, the current one under consideration requires at least one 21-year-old host for any party where alcohol will be available. For parties larger than 40 people, the host must be accompanied by a certain number of peer monitors proportionate to the size of the party. The peer monitors act as a support mechanism for the host and may be of any age.

The primary difference in the new policy is that students will be required to present positive identification stating that they are at least 21 in order to receive alcoholic beverages. In order to keep track, wristbands or hand stamps will be distributed among those with positive identification.

The same policy was used during the interim period for Homecoming last November. The system proved satisfactory for the committee.

The host or peer monitors will be responsible for checking all I.D.s. They will be furnished with a state license view book to check the authenticity of presented cards.

Although the Homecoming parties employed servers for the distribution of alcohol, a hired professional will not be required, though it is recommended to avoid compromising situations. Similar to the old policy, the host will be primarily responsible for monitoring alcohol consumption.

“The introduction of trained servers and a beefed up host training are designed to protect the host. If the College assumed the liability, then the college would also regulate all of the fun out of parties. A big part of our role as students on the committee is to make sure that the College only regulates half of the fun out of parties,” said Committee Member Mike Ryan ’98.

For large parties, security officers will still be required. Though they are not responsible for the distribution of alcohol, security officers will intervene if they witness an unbanded or unstamped person drinking.

In terms of liability, no changes have been enacted. The host is still liable for the actions of every person present at the party during the party, and after.

The committee, however, believes the key to protecting the host and the students lies in college-wide education.

Host and Peer Monitor training/certification will now be supplemented by the nationally approved Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) and Bar Code programs. This system combines two similar programs that emphasize a comprehensive approach to dealing with large party situations as well as educating students on the health risks involved.

Stefan Lange heads TIPS with Laini Sportbert heading the Bar Code program. Specifically, these programs train servers of alcohol dealing with four major points.

• how alcohol affects the brain and body

• the law and liability

• techniques for responsible alcohol serving

• serving in difficult situations

“The server training programs may enhance the party experience by helping students realize the responsibility they take on by hosting or attending a party, and by more effectively preventing potentially dangerous situations involving fellow students consuming alcohol.” comments Sporbert.

The TIPS/Bar Code hybrid program will be made available to all who wish to be certified, but whether or not TIPS will be a required element has not been determined. The committee is also considering making host and Peer Monitor training mandatory for all students in an effort to raise campus awareness.

Another unanswered question facing the committee concerns freshman entries. For the rest of the year, entries will be unable to sponsor large parties with upper class houses when alcohol will be present. How the new policy will include freshmen next year has yet to be resolved, but will be addressed.

Thorndike-Wilson stressed the great efforts the committee has made to ensure the well-being of the Williams campus.

“When the committee re-evaluated the interim policy, we attempted to address specific concerns about parties, health and safety, the social life and personal responsibility. We also saw the need to improve the educational component within the policy,” said Thorndike-Wilson.