Jeff Nelson Senior Executive Editor
Security has had another series of discussions with members of College Council (CC), All Campus Entertainment (ACE) and students and staff involved with the Log to try and resolve issues surrounding the College’s policies on the operation of the facility. CC originally broached the issue with Security last October, but never followed through with its letter requesting changes. “Honestly, it wasn’t our priority and we had other issues, so we forgot about it,” said Dave Boyer, assistant director of security.
A three-drink limit on under-21 nights and a ban on all unregistered guests were both instituted after a chaotic beach party last year prompted scrutiny from the Williamstown board of selectmen and the Williamstown Police Department (WPD).
However, the new regulations, particularly about bringing visitors into the Log, have frustrated students. Last year, for example, a member of the band Guster, who had just played a show at the College, tried to enter the Log with a number of Williams students and was denied access. “Generally we are most interested in addressing the issue of visitors,” said Aaron Wilson ’04, ACE’s social and house events co-chair and CC at-large representative. “We would like to see student-sponsored guests be admitted to the Log, and after talking with Dave [Boyer] we are hopefully going to make this happen in time for this Thursday night.”
The College imposed the three-drink limit on under-21 nights at the bar to try and reduce the amount of alcohol passed from students over 21 to underage friends.
Prior to the meetings, Security already had a system set up to allow visitors into the Log, and the new discussions have only led to an agreement to try and advertise the policy so students know how to bring visitors into the establishment. Currently, students can register guests at Security on weekdays by 4 p.m. The guest receives a visitor’s pass, which allows access to the host’s dorm and also to the Log.
However, there will be age restrictions on guests allowed into the Log. Jean Thorndike, director of campus safety, said that anybody under the age of 18 will not be allowed into the building, regardless of whether they have a visitor’s pass or not. This policy particularly affects prospective students, who are sometimes under 18. Besides liability, Boyer said, the issue is that it is difficult to distinguish between a prospective and an area student. “There’s going to be an 18 year-old Mt. Greylock student who’s not a prospective and not a recruit who will pose a significant risk,” Boyer said. “There’s not a single person at the College that wants high school-aged kids near alcohol at the Log.”
Boyer’s fear is not unfounded; a number of incidents involving Williams students inviting high school students or other local residents whom they had met on Spring Street to the Log require the guest ID process. “We’ve had a history of problems with locals getting into the Log, [drinking] and then getting into cars,” Boyer said.
Under the revised policy, a list of registered guests would be sent to the Log. The dining services member checking student IDs would then verify the guest’s name with the list at the Log.
Another sticking point between students and Security is the $20 deposit required to obtain a visitor’s pass, said Chris Ryan ’04, CC Gladden house representative. Ryan and Wilson met with Boyer yesterday to try to give students the option of placing the deposit on their term bill. If the guest card does not get returned to Security, then the term bill would be charged the $20. Boyer said he is looking into the possibilities of this new option.
“I would definitely say there is progress being made as we are getting changes hopefully implemented for this weekend, and Dave Boyer seems eager to incorporate student sentiment into the College’s ongoing negotiations with the town about Log policy,” Wilson said.
The three-drink limit is a much thornier issue, though. The College imposes the limit whenever the Log is open to the entire student body and under and over 21 year olds are mixed. “The drink limit has severely reduced the handoff of beverages to minors,” Boyer said. He said the only way he could foresee a change in policy is if 21 year olds were exclusively allowed into the bar area during mixed-age nights. Other College administrators expressed doubt that the drink limit would ever be raised. Mixed-age parties were one of the principle sources of tension between Canterbury’s and the town when that bar was closed last year.
“In reality, the Log is unique in that it is a licensed establishment that allows underage people to be near the bar,” Wilson said. “Thus the College has to carefully follow state and local laws about how alcohol is served in order to protect the Log staff legally.
“It is important to remember that town issues with past Log disturbances, underage drinking, etc., make it imperative that the [WPD and selectmen] are incorporated into any discussions about the changes to the policy.”
Boyer said the impetus for advertising the visitor policy now lies with CC. Most students simply do not know that the policy exists and problems at the Log would be reduced if students were aware of how to properly get visitors into the building.