New Policy Answers Many Questions
For the past term, students have struggled to understand the current state of MIT's alcohol policy. Ill defined terminology, poorly articulated policy, and occasionally murky reasoning left students uncertain about what events would be permitted and what sorts of punishment would be meted out to violators
The new alcohol policy released this week makes progress towards resolving at least some of these concerns. The decision to categorize and classify the types of offenses was a good one, and the punishments given to violators seem clear and easy to implement. Of course, students need to see the policy in action to find out exactly how the new regulations work, but now they have a base from which to work.
The Tech has also been concerned about students being afraid to summon medical help out of fear of punishment. MIT is in a difficult position: it is required by law to enforce the drinking age while protecting the health of its students.
The new policy's "Samaritan" clause, which makes calling for medical help a "mitigating factor" when deciding punishments for violations, demonstrates good intentions on the part of the administration. By opening the door to smaller penalties, people might be less hesitant to delay calling for medical attention when it is needed. However, we believe that the clause does not go quite far enough. The clause should be integrated into official policy and clarified. Students will begin to trust the system when they can watch it in operation and see that it will be enforced intelligently.
Finally, the administration must realize that it is not yet finished with writing alcohol policy. We still have not seen a policy or description that permits legal alcohol use within MITstudent groups; this leaves events from Steer Roast to Commence- ment activities in limbo. We hope to see more progress in the coming weeks.