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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Student leaders not consulted on draft of alcohol policy

Published: January 27, 2006
Section: News

Student leaders complained this week of a lack of consultation from the administration regarding the recent drafting of a university policy regarding alcohol at student-run events.

The policy, which was obtained by The Hoot, states that the purpose of the procedures it describes is to facilitate the legitimate serving of alcoholic beverages at approved events.

The drafting of the policy came as a surprise to members of the student government, which was not asked for input, according to Student Union officials.
Student Union Director of Student Affairs Edgar Ndjatou claims the Student Union was not contacted during the drafting process. We did not know about [the drafting], said Ndjatou. We were not involved in that process. Were not used to this.

The policy was drafted by Director of Student Activities Stephanie Grimes;

she was aided by the Department of Student Activities, the Department of Public Safety, Dining Services, and the office of the Dean of Student Life.

Grimes claimed that the policy was not a set of new guidelines, but rather a formalizing of existing rules. We put down what we were practicing in the past, she said.

Grimes confirmed that the drafting took place over the semester break, and because of that students were not consulted about the policy. There was not a lot of student input, she said.

Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer also considered the drafted policy a formal description of existing guidelines. It is a review of policy that has been around a long time, said Sawyer. It is a tune up and tone up of current written policyit is not a new policy.

However, Union officials claim there are changes in this written policy that have not been a part of existing practice for event planners.

One concern of the Union Executive Board is the cost of some of the policys provisions. Student Union Treasurer Nick Freeman 07 believes some of these proposals will make events with alcohol virtually impossible, citing the costs of bracelets and dining services staff as prohibitively expensive.

Under the policy, Dining Services must staff all student-sponsored events with bartenders and ID checkers, and supply all alcohol for the event. Grimes estimated the cost of ID checkers at $120-150 for four hours.

Organizations which hold events with alcohol will also be responsible for paying for the bracelets, which will be handed out by Dining Services to identify people over 21 years old. The cost of each bracelet is $.50.

Another concern of Union officials is the requirement of the drafted guidelines that events at which alcohol will be served must be planned by someone over 21 years old.

Unless an event takes place in the Stein, according to the policy, events with alcohol must have a restricted area for distribution and consumption of alcohol, known as a beer garden. Dining Services will check IDs for entrance into the beer garden and will identify drinking students with bracelets, which must be paid for by the organization running the event.

Freeman also questioned the logic of some of the proposals. If the administration is going to demand a beer garden, why require bracelets [for drinking students]? he asked.

Ndjatou says the Union has no current plan of action, but hopes to consult with Student Activities regarding the policy. We want to do what we can to find a common ground, he said. We want to make sure that students can afford these things and that the rules are not too constrictive.

I understand the need for alcohol policybut a major complaint from Brandeis students is social life, and restrictions like these make people wonder about Brandeis social life, said Ndjatou.

Grimes states that the policy exists mainly to keep students safe on campus. It may seem that the administration is trying to prohibit alcoholbut were really trying to keep people safe.