College to revise policy on parties

Jean Thorndike, director of Security, will announce within the next two weeks a revised party policy for the campus. Last spring, College Council (CC) requested that the College’s party policy committee meet with students and review the policy of the time.

However, before the College publicizes this new policy, Thorndike would like to have the support of CC. She is meeting with the council this Wednesday asking for their feedback.

“I think that these party policy changes are a big first step in the right direction,” said Chin Ho ’04, co-president of CC and member of the party policy committee.

The most significant change to the party policy is the creation of a new classification for small events and parties. Now, small gatherings with an attendance up to 50 do not have to be registered with Security.

Scott Grinsell, also a member of the party policy committee, said, “I think students have been frustrated by the fact that small parties were limited to 19 people for a long time. I think students felt that this rule was unrealistic because so many of the small parties on campus have more than 19 people at them.”

Grinsell explained that it was his belief that “the majority of student parties on campus were unregistered” because students found registering parties with Security too difficult and involved. He said, “As a result, the threat of fines lead to greater exclusivity at these parties, and encouraged interaction among similar groups of people.” With an expanded attendance restriction on small parties, students will find it easier to have more spontaneous, open parties.

It is possible that the new policy could add another element to the campus social scene. “Students often complain that ACE does not throw enough all campus parties or that these parties are too repetitive and boring. I think the College can give students more responsibility for planning their own small events and trust them to do it safely,” Grinsell said. “I was pleased to see that the College felt they could do that. By making it easier for students to throw small parties, I believe the new policy can make social life more fluid and natural.”

The different party classifications have varying guidelines. According to the new policy, “the unregistered small party will not permit kegs or any other form of bulk alcohol and no hard alcohol will be permitted. Beer cannot exceed 79 twelve-ounce cans, which represent less than a quarter-keg, and wine cannot exceed eleven liters.”

Before a student can host a small event, he or she must verify with the Housing Coordinator (HC) that the space for the function is available. The student will serve as the contact person for the party if problems should arise. Students 21 years of age still need to be identified at the party and neither bands nor DJs will be permitted.

The new policy also redefines the classification of a private party. A private event can have no more than 12 people in attendance. Private parties do not have to be registered with Security or the HCs. The policy states, “alcohol should be proportionate to the number in attendance and follow the formula for responsible consumption. Basically the guideline is one drink per hour per person.”

For large registered parties, the new policy permits students to serve beer from two separate locations instead of having only one serving area. The original policy allowed only one server so that the server could monitor people’s consumption. However, according to Grinsell, the addition of an extra server at registered parties will allow workers to better monitor individual consumption, as crowds would be spread out between two kegs, rather than cramped together at one location. Allowing for two servers also will keep the lines at kegs shorter so students do not have to wait all night for a drink.

A minor change made to the party policy was the reduction of the non-alcoholic beverage requirement at parties. Previously, the policy required ten liters of non-alcoholic beverages per keg, per five liters of hard alcohol or 24 liters of wine. Now, the policy states that only five liters of non-alcoholic beverages are required. Grinsell explained that large amounts of these beverages always were left at the end of a party. Many times the extra drinks were thrown out or carted off by students. The committee that reviewed the party policy concluded that inconvenience of buying the drinks and the extra money being spent on these beverages was not necessary.

The final change to the policy was to improve the party registration chart by making it easier to understand. The College has agreed to all of these changes on a temporary basis. First semester will serve as a probation period for the new policy. At the end of the semester, the party policy committee will evaluate the changes and their effects.

Last Tuesday, Thorndike brought the new party policy before the HCs. Thorndike said that the HCs seemed in favor of the changes. Carolyn Robbs ’04, HC in Spencer, commented, “Personally, I was impressed by the administration’s decision to abort idealism in favor of reality. Small, private parties that have been going on for years and that were technically illegal no longer must be registered, simplifying the system and increasing the odds that students will comply with the rules for larger parties.”

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