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IFC Ready to Certify Groups for Alcohol

By Aileen Tang

Fraternities, sororities and independent living groups can again be certified to have alcohol at events following the first new alcohol policy symposium.

On Saturday, the Alumni Inter-Fraternity Council andthe office of Residence andCampus Activities sponsored a symposium on the legal, medical, and sociological issues of alcohol use.

Attendance at Saturday's symposium satisfied two parts of the alcohol education program required by the Interfraternity Council's newalcohol certification policy.

All fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups have to apply for IFC alcohol certification before alcohol can be reintroduced to any house events. New certification policies require that houses meet a set of criteria in order to qualify for recertification.

According to IFCPresident Duane H. Dreger '99, no houses have been certified yet. However, the IFCJudicial Committee began handling application at yesterday's meeting, where the first houses may become certified.

The goal of the new policies is to "provide a safe and responsible environment in the FSILG system," he said. In addition to requiring two-thirds of the living group to complete an alcohol education program, the policy also mandates that one-third of the house be certified in the national Training in Intervention Procedures program. Living groups are also required to have a representative on the IFCjudicial committee, which deals with violations of the policies.

"People need to be educated, and the new policies representa "minimally acceptable level in the sense of alcohol awareness," Dreger said.

RCAdiscusses possible new policy

On Sunday night, officers of the Undergraduate Association and dormitory governments participated in an alcohol awareness workshop designed to clarify current alcohol policies and discuss future changes.

RCA is looking into the possibility of allowing dormitories to pay for a bartender with house tax funds, said Assistant Dean for RCAKatherine G. O'Dair. The bartender would be able to serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. "Dorm taxes would not pay for the alcohol but for the service - that is an important distinction," O'Dair said.

Under the current alcohol policy, Institute funds, including house taxes, cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol when persons under the age of 21 will be present. While academic groups can get exemptions from this policy, student groups cannot.

O'Dair said that several revisions to the alcohol event registration process are currently being developed. Guidelines for the appropriate amount of alcohol that can be served and who will be allowed to serve alcohol at these events will be established in the coming months.

In addition, the method to ensure compliance is unclear. O'Dair said she would work closely with dormitory governments and students on campus "to come up with something that is fair and consistent.

"The goal of all this is to allow for all-ages events, both with alcohol and without," O'Dair said. "I feel confident that we will come up with procedures that students will find workable in their living group."

Medical confidentiality discussed

The Medical Department provides strict confidentiality for people who come in for help, said Dr. Ronald C. Fleming. Many students, however, were skeptical at the possible consequences of reporting an alcohol-related emergency.

Under the Institute's current alcohol policy, the Campus Police are required to report all student transports to the Medical Department. In any event where underage drinking is involved, campus police must send a report to the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education, where a citation may be issued.

Although Campus Police Captain David A. Carlson said that no citations had been issued so far, students were concerned about the potential problems with releasing names from medical transports.

"It's the chilling effect that someone else somewhere is going to get in trouble," said John S. Holmes '99.

Lia-Christina Rodriguez '00 suggested that the current system seems to deal with alcohol problems through "a scare tactic rather than constructively." Rodriguez questioned the necessity of putting the issue into the disciplinary system when the ultimate goal is to help people and prevent tragedy.

Meeting covered many issues

The meeting, organized by Carol Orme-Johnson, assistant dean for RCA, was designed to make people aware of the health implications of alcohol, the emergency response facilities available, and what the liability issues were, said Steven C. McCluskey, a project coordinator for the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education.

Students who attended the workshop applauded the administration's efforts to create dialogue on such issues. It was good that "people representing many different offices were [available to] answer our questions," said Nicole A. Balli '00.

Some expressed concern at the three-hour length of the meeting and its focus on non-policy issues. If the focus was "on communicating ideas and getting feedback we would have gotten a lot more done," Rodriguez said.

Future workshops are planned for a more general student population, McCluskey said.