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TIPS traning required for servers

By Sanjay Manandhar

MIT is now requiring bartenders at public parties to participate in the TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures by Servers of Alcohol) program. Meanwhile the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs is still considering requiring private parties to register with the Campus Activities Office.

Director of Campus Activities Susanna C. Hinds believed MIT would eventually require all alcohol events to register with the CAO, though she did not say when. When this idea was first proposed last year it was criticized by the Undergraduate Association Alcohol Policy Committee, the Dormitory Council, and the InterFraternity Conference. The current policy does not require registration for parties with less than 100 people.

Public parties are required to purchase liquor licenses and have a Campus Police detail present. Sandi Harms '91, chairperson of the UA Alcohol Policy Committee, did not think these would be required for private parties, but she did believe that CAO would take steps to make the organizers more aware of the liabilities.

Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin believed that enforcement of MIT's alcohol policy has become tighter over the past several years. She said that the alcohol situation on campus "is not problem-free but is on the road to vast improvement."

Door control at parties and awareness of liabilities have led to an improvement in the underage drinking problem, but nevertheless troubles persist, Glavin noted. Excessive consumption of alcohol and an influx of outsiders due to the fact that MIT is still one of the few "wet" campuses in the Boston area are still important issues to tend to, she added.

TIPS sessions held

In conjunction with DormCon and the CAO, the ODSA has been conducting a regular TIPS program. The Dean's Office covers half of the $30 per person fee provided that DormCon can find a minimum of 15 persons to attend. Since December, six TIPS sessions have been conducted. There are currently approximately 12 TIPS-trained people in Senior House and 20 in East Campus. On West Campus, one person is trained in McCormick Hall and about 20 in each of the other West Campus dormitories.

Elizabeth Williams '90, chairperson of DormCon, called the increased awareness and training a kind of "preventive medicine." Most house presidents and social chairpersons, she noted, are now aware of the need for proper training and the liabilities that alcohol-related incidents bring about.

Among the independent living groups, Frank Oh '89, the pledge trainer for Zeta Psi, made his entire pledge class of 21 freshman take the TIPS training. He believes that in the future, more members of the fraternity will be trained; currently 50 percent of the members are trained.

"Responsible drinking is important wherever drinking goes on," Oh said. "More and more frats will have to realize this. MIT should not have to police the independent living groups. We should police ourselves," he added.

Along similar lines, ODSA organized a 22-hour, intensive IMPACT Training during IAP. The program taught practical and preventive skills pertaining to substance abuse, addictive behavior, etc.

Since September, CAO has been using a new party registration form, aimed at better informing registrants of their responsibilities. Nancy Wang '89, social chairperson of 500 Memorial Drive, said that the new form, which requires the registrant to initial each printed guideline, has made her more aware of the Massachusetts laws and liabilities. She thinks that a lot of the students, including those running for UA offices, do not comprehend the magnitude of the liabilities.

Harms believed that "increased awareness keeps people from getting hurt and teaches them to be more responsible." At the same time, she noted, "We don't want to go dry." Harms feels MIT is receiving a lot of pressure from its lawyers concerning alcohol-related liability to MIT. This may partially explain the stricter enforcement and heightened concern, as well as the policy revision discussion.

The primary focus of the institute is to "get people [to be] aware of the alcohol policy," Hinds said.