A new plan is being implemented this year that will keep first-year students from attending registered events on the Colgate University campus. The information regarding this protocol was first sent to fraternity and sorority presidents, as fraternities host the majority of all
registered, non-catered events where alcohol is present.
The aim of the protocol is to minimize the risk of sexual assault, combat underage alcohol-induced hospitalizations and protect first-year students from the pressures of a party culture they may not understand.
As Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown outlined in his message to first-year students, the goal is to provide them with a smooth transition into college.
“Colgate has a long-term commitment to providing our students with the best first-year experience possible and we know first-year students come to campus eager to engage and become part of the fabric of the institution. With eagerness also comes inexperience that may leave first-years open to vulnerable and risky
situations,” Brown said.
This plan went into effect at the start of this semester and applies equally to male and female first-year students.
First-years will be allowed at non-catered registered events where alcohol is present beginning in the spring term. This protocol is in place to keep first-years safe rather than to punish anyone found at a registered event, either hosts or students. Amnesty is still offered to anyone who needs it to ensure the safety of a student in order to eliminate the fear of calling Campus Safety.
“The first semester for first-years is unquestionably the most risky and the best hedge is to invest first-year students in developing relationships with
classmates, involvement with clubs and organizations and generally establishing themselves within the college
environment as they widen their circles,” Brown said.
Sigma Chi President senior Will Ely suggested that this protocol might lead to more dangerous situations for first-years because of a change in setting.
“Fraternities are extensively trained to keep an eye on anyone in attendance at their parties and know how to deal with alcohol issues. We are trained to keep everyone safe, but now [first-years] are just going to drink in less safe environments where people aren’t TIPS (Training for Intervention
Procedures) trained,” Ely said.
Although many of the Greek houses seem to dislike this new policy, Gamma Phi Beta President senior Katie Cech sees the positive side of limiting first-years at events.
“I do think this is a good reinforcement of existing policies with noble and applaudable aims, namely being to call into question a culture that has developed here at Colgate over time. With that culture comes a normalization of things like drinking patterns and gender dynamics that can often be extremely unhealthy and very harmful,” Cech said.
The Chapter Presidents worked to create a temporary agreement surrounding the first-year protocol for the first weekend of school. The agreement adheres to the plan initiated by the school, but a more temporary policy on behalf of Greek houses is in the works for the next few weeks.
Numerous other steps have been taken in the last few years to minimize risk for first-years and the whole student body, including Yes Means Yes, Bystander Training and the points system.
“There are many, many things in place, and I am looking forward to the fraternities and sororities to continue their leadership, along with others to make Colgate the best climate possible for all students,” Brown said.