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New Alcohol Policy Has Education Focus

By Hyun Soo Kim
Associate News Editor

The Dormitory Council's new alcohol initiative was approved by the Office of Residence and Campus Activities early this term as a supplement to the Institute's alcohol policy.

As part of DormCon's proposal, two programs will be implemented by fall 1994. The Office of Residence and Campus Activities will train some dormitory residents to mix drinks and to serve alcohol safely at open parties through bartending courses and serving techniques.

Each house will also be required to have student monitors who are trained in first aid at parties.

"It's a supplement to the alcohol policy to encourage responsible drinking. Our purpose is to educate, not punish people," said Elizabeth T. Smith '93, DormCon president. "It's a better way to approach the problem."

"I've seen people uneducated about what alcohol can do to you. They abuse it because they are not educated," Smith said.

Individual dormitories will be responsible for implementing the policy at each of the dormitories.

The DormCon's 1991 alcohol policy proposal was rejected by the Residence and Campus Activities office because it would have allowed a large proportion of the house tax to be spent on alcohol. The new proposal makes no mention of the house tax issue, which affects the insurance liability of the Institute.

Plan includes bartending classes

The purpose of the initiative's two planks is to maintain safe parties. Each dormitory will be required to maintain a pool of trained and responsible bartenders to serve at dormitory-sponsored open events. The alcohol initiative only covers public parties.

Students will be trained in first aid, bartending, methods for preventing excessive drinking, and methods for dealing with inebriated people. According to the proposal, a "well-trained bartender is a person who will be alert to the dangers of underage and irresponsible drinking while promoting serving techniques that minimize abuse."

"The bartending/mixology course will be supplementing the course that already exists, which is the TIPS training. I think it will be an enjoyable class that people would take," Smith said.

"It's a good idea because a lot of servers [bartenders] don't know. I think safety is important point. ... I've been to a lot of parties, and there are potentially dangerous situations. It won't be hampering the party at all by giving training to bartenders," said Tariq M. Shaukat '94, East Campus president.

"A program that will teach bartenders to spot people who are drunk and to keep the bartender from liability is good. It won't do any harm," said Halston W. Taylor, the Random Hall housemaster.

Students monitor parties

Each dormitory is also required to have two trained student monitors at every open party. Monitors will observe the party and enforce safety and legal standards.

For example, monitors may request that students be assigned to check identifications for admission into the party or for serving alcohol. In addition, a monitor may prevent a bartender from serving any guest who is excessively intoxicated.

With sufficient reason, two monitors acting together may also suspend the dormitory from serving alcohol for the duration of the party. Monitors will report any violations to the Dormitory Council Judicial Committee.

"It doesn't affect our parties at all. We already have a Campus Policeman at our parties," said Baker House president, Daniel G. Sabanosh '94. "Two years ago we had TIPS training around and there was no problem in getting people for that."

"We already have some monitors during Residence/Orientation week. I know for a fact Baker people don't like to have things handed down on them, but I don't think the plan will have much effect on Baker residents," Sabanosh continued.

The proposal also recommends that MIT establish a first aid training program for all undergraduates as a requirement for graduation. The requirement may be met by a seminar or a physical education course. The proposal also recommended that each dormitory create an alcohol awareness program.

The proposal will be implemented by the new DormCon officers who will be elected at the DormCon meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday on the fourth floor of the Student Center. President, vice president, Judicial Committee chairman, and secretary/treasurer will be elected.