Alcohol Policy Committee makes recommendations
By Joey Marquez
The Undergraduate Association-sponsored Alcohol Policy Committee (APC) presented a summary of its recommendations at the UA Council meeting last Thursday. The committee will complete its final report by early next week and present it to the UAC for a vote at its May 2 meeting. The council will then decide whether the policy should be approved for further action by the administration, according to UA Vice President J. Paul Kirby '92, chairman of the APC.
If the UAC policy is approved, it will be submitted to the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs (ODSA). It will be determined later whether the policy should be incorporated into the basic rules and regulations for Institute living groups, UA President Stacy E. McGeever '93 said.
But Kirby said that even if the UAC does not approve every part of the proposal, it will still be submitted it to the Dean's Office with a statement attached explaining the council's objections.
One plank of proposal
Students at the meeting reacting to the proposal criticized the committee's determination of what was best for the MIT community. One recommendation states, "The committee recommends that house tax funds not be spent on alcoholic beverages;" some students said this restricted the freedom of the living groups in the allocation of their money.
Seth M. Cohen '92, president of Next House and Dormitory Council president, said, "the proposal doesn't follow what [the dormitories] feel." He added, "My main concern is that the students aren't being represented in this issue and that the committee is overlooking the dormitories."
McGeever disagreed, saying that "the responsibility of students will increase." She added that Cohen's claim was not justified for three reasons: 1) the Dormitory Council was offered a position on the APC, but it declined, 2) a considerable amount of student input was used, and 3) the APC felt that MIT was going to implement this kind of policy regardless of what it said.
Kirby proposed an alternative to this plank of the committee's recommendations, which allowed each house to vote at the end of the spring term to determine whether residents would be willing to pay an extra tax, which could not be regulated by the Institute, to buy alcohol. This money could be collected regardless of whether the proposed recommendation or its alternative is approved.
According to McGeever, the UA did not seem to be in favor of the second option.
Other recommendations presented
Aside from this controversial proposal, nine other recommendations were presented. Some faced criticism while others were easily accepted at the meeting.
In the first plank, the APC recommends that "statistics involving MIT alcohol-related incidents be disclosed on a regular basis." The committee further recommends that "these statistics provide the most explicit information to the community, while at the same time protecting the confidentiality of those involved." The main objective of this plank, according to the committee, is "to inform and educate the MIT community regarding alcohol abuse."
Baker House President Andrew E. Bloch '91 suggested that non-alcohol-related incidents be released as well for comparison.
The second plank recommends that information racks providing literature on drug, alcohol and health-related issues be available in all living groups. Class of 1993 Treasurer Sophia Yen noted that the racks may be "aesthetically unpleasing."
The third plank recommends the creation of an assistant dean or director for alcohol and drug education be created within the ODSA. This new officer would be responsible for "implementing and coordinating all ongoing educational efforts relative to alcohol and drugs, conducting the biennial review of MIT's alcohol and drug efforts as required by the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1988, [and] the forming of an ongoing committee to evaluate the substance and success of MIT's alcohol and drug policies and to make regular recommendations for improvements."
Some members of the UA felt that other things were more important than creating a new position, and some questioned whether the new administrator would turn into a disciplinary dean and take on additional responsibilities.
But Kirby rebutted this, saying "there are not sufficient people to help." He added that other schools have an officer of this type, and that the "commitment that MIT has is drastically less."
In the fourth plank, the APC proposes that "the Interfraternity Council decide whether to assume the role of registering events in independent living groups." This would extend the dormitory regulations to ILGs, according to McGeever.
The fifth plank criticized the present system of requiring students to sell alcohol at events, rather than giving it away. It says that alcohol should only be sold "unless the obtaining of a liquor license requires it."
In the next plank, the committee recommends that "all events held in common or public spaces on Institute property or in MIT approved living groups, at which alcohol will be consumed or served, be registered with the Campus Activities office, or with the Interfraternity Council in the case of events held at Independent Living Groups."
In the seventh plank, the APC recommends a registration process for events where alcohol is present, including the completion of a form containing the signature of the event's sponsor.
The sponsor would acknowledge understanding all applicable laws and MIT policies, and certify that admission to the event would be controlled, that access to alcoholic beverages would be monitored at all times, and that all party monitors had completed a program approved by the campus activities director for "alcohol reality training."
The 10th plank recommends that the "Dormitory Council and the [IFC] have clear knowledge of every open event where alcohol is present or served, and that student members regularly patrol such events to ensure that event procedures are being followed."
The last plank states that the ODSA "begin to refer appropriate disciplinary cases to the Judicial Committees of the Dormitory Council and the Interfraternity Council."
This would give more power to the Dormitory Council, McGeever said.