College implements new host training programming

As a result of its meeting last spring, the Party Policy Review Committee implemented changes in the College’s Party Policy this fall that will take effect on October 10.

The host training program required of students who wish to host a party serving 80 beers or more to 20 or more students has drastically altered, although the policy remains largely intact.Previously, a prospective host had to attend a one-hour training session covering the rules and regulations of hosting a party.

They would be educated in certain basic skills concerning the liabilities of serving alcohol, how to identify alcohol poisoning and how to handle medical emergencies, after which participants received a one-year formal certification.

Director of Security and Chairperson of the Party Policy Review Committee Jean Thorndike said committee members “felt that the host education program was not really addressing issues of concern.”

”The host training was nothing more than a lecture session about rules and regulations,” Thorndike said.

This year, the Party Policy Review Committee introduced Training Intervention Procedures (TIPS) as the new training program for hosts. It consists of one four-hour session that covers a wider variety of skills and information.

The program covers basic bartender training, how to deal with intoxicated individuals, the different laws and certain liabilities. This training is more intense and more in-depth than the previous program. It also provides for state certification. In addition, TIPS training allows for three-year certification, rather than one-year.

When asked why these changes were made, Security Officer Dave Boyer said, “We’re trying to have better educated people running the parties.”

Security said the old policy was ineffective concerning the serving of alcohol. Although Security encourages students to hire professionally-trained bartenders, this was rarely done.

Several problems surfaced as a result of student-hosted, student-run parties, including many violations of the policy, such as the use of fake identification by underage drinkers, the exchanging of wristbands in order to obtain alcohol, students arriving to parties intoxicated or bringing alcohol to parties and certain occasions of violence.

Due in part to these occurrences, frustrations between hosts and security arose, resulting in the loss of several hosts last year.

This new training programs seeks to make student hosts more accountable for events that occur at parties.

“I think the training provided at TIPS actually provides students with the skills to handle situations where alcohol is being served,” Thondike said. “It’s a huge responsibility and students should be informed about it and be able to intervene if necessary.”

”I’m hoping [these changes] will help, but I still believe that it will take an adult bartender for full compliance,” Boyer said.

Boyer notes that issues such as peer pressure also cause flagrant violations of the policy.

“The new program is a good step toward better-run, safer parties, but the policy really rides on students saying no to other students,” Boyer said.

“TIPS training will only be effective if students actually apply the skills they learn,” Thorndike added.

The Security Department hired three trained instructors to teach the sessions and the Health Department has one trained instructor.

Six sessions will be held between September 19 and October 10. A state instructor will be teaching for the first six sessions. These classes have a capacity of 180 students. However, only 15 prospective hosts have signed up so far. It is feared there may be a shortage of hosts this year if more students do not sign up.

Students have mixed feelings about the changes. Some say they feel it will be helpful, while others say they feel it is unnecessary.

“Since there are fewer hosts, there will probably be less parties, but I still think this is a good idea because it will be safer to have people who are more knowledgeable about the effects of excessive drinking running the parties,” Tim Menza ’01 said.

“It’s understandable that there will be less hosts this year. The host takes responsibility for everyone drinking. That’s a lot of pressure on a student,” Jen Geiger ’01 said.

All other aspects of the Party Policy have remained the same. Students still must register all bulk alcohol with Security and Security officers will still check in at certain parties during the course of the year.

Also, a party with one 21-year-old host may have a maximum of 40 people. Parties with a host and a peer monitor may have 100 people. Peer monitors must undergo training as well.The penalties will also remain the same.

If a host is caught violating the policy, Security will terminate his host certification and he will no longer be permitted to host registered parties on campus.

If an underage student is caught drinking,he will go through the sanction process. This consists of a talk with Security officials, alcohol counseling and a visit to the Dean’s Office.