Following the open forum regarding the newly proposed plan by the Dean of the College for event registration on campus, students and community members have continued to voice their questions and concerns. The forum on February 14, in which Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Brenda Ice shared the details of the proposed event registration plan, drew out over 100 students affiliated with Greek Life. The initial start-date to implement proposed changes to the process of Monday, March 18 is no longer concrete as a result of that forum.
“At this time we will not implementing the new process on March 18 as we think it’s important to gather additional feedback from students,” Ice said. “To that end, we will be offering additional forums in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, at this time we do not have those dates, times and locations available. As soon as we know that information, we will be sure to share it with the student body.”
Assessing the reasons for implementing changes to the current process will now come through a continued collaborative process between administrative figures and students. Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown, who is an influential player in the new event registration proposal, shared some general context for the desired changes and insight on what steps will now take place.
“For many years we have talked with students about social life on campus — what they like, what they don’t like, and in what ways they would like to see it improved,” Brown said. “We know that the important friendships and community are influenced by the social experience and is a key benefit of the Colgate educational experience.”
“Over the past year and a half, Colgate’s ‘NCHIP’ (National College Health Improvement Program) team, made up of faculty, students and staff, has been looking for ways that we can help promote a more vibrant and inclusive social environment that is not characterized by high-risk/dangerous situations. Our campus team is part of a 33 campus collaboration (e.g., Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, Wesleyan, Northwestern, etc.) that gathers together every six months, sharing best practices and implementing evidence-based, risk-reduction initiatives that focus on individuals, the environment, and the system,” Brown said.
Brown explained that the results of the data collected revealed enlightening results.
“Comparing our data from last fall, we have less alcohol incidents, less repeat issues and less Emergency Room visits (for intoxication, alcohol-related injuries and lower average Blood Alcohol Levels),” Brown said said.
Brown explained that the administration internalized student feedback in hopes to make the process more efficient.
“We have gotten feedback from speaking with students over the years that the event management process is paper-heavy/bureaucratic, we need to find a better way of allowing smaller groups of students to have social events more easily in common areas, and provide more TIPS training so it is easier for a diversity of groups to host events,” Brown said. “In those conversations, there has also been much conversation about the BYOB type parties and the constraints of the 99 person limit rule.”
Brown shared that the details of the proposed plan were a collaborated front.
“Input on the draft event management process we are sharing now originated with NCHIP, made up of faculty, students and staff, with input from the DOC staff and all the feedback we are obtaining now,” Brown said. “Student input is very important, and we want to get this right. As I said, our goal is creating an event process that can enhance social life for all students (ease of use, encourage more activities) while balancing the important health, safety and legal concerns.”
Knowing that this is a subject that affects so many students, Brown said that implemented changes will take that into account.
“We are glad that there is so much recent interest, so we will find ways to capitalize on it,” Brown said. “One thing we might do is move forward on the areas where there is little concern: getting our current process online, put forward the ways we can support the smaller parties and offer more TIPS training so more students are able to host larger events. We can find ways to get even more student involvement so we can work through some of the areas where students have expressed initial concerns, such as requirements for parties, days of the week allowable for parties, health and safety walk-throughs, etc.”
Moving forward, Brown noted how student input throughout the process is important to those implementing the proposed changes.
“What will be helpful is to use this dynamic conversation to see what will work best in light of our goals, deepen everybody’s understanding of the social context and what would work best, and also educate on what initiatives have proven to be effective in lowering risky situations,” Brown said. “It will be important for us to continue to listen to students, and capitalize on this interest to help us refine the process to best serve our goals.”
Sophomore Amulya Uppala, a student who is not affiliated with a Greek Letter Organization on Colgate’s campus, expressed why she feels the proposal in its current form won’t be effective.
“It’s going to make parties way more exclusive than they already are, including to people who are already in Greek life,” Uppala said. “It’s just going to segregate people, even within their organization.”
Uppala shared what specific aspects of the newly proposed registration process would inhibit social interactions among students on campus.
“By having three tiers of parties, already operating on the assumption that Colgate students don’t know the rules and aren’t listening to the rules, and as a college-aged student who is above the age of 18, and isn’t a minor anymore, you do have to give them that legal leeway,” Uppala said. “Colgate attracts a certain type of very leadership-oriented, activity-oriented student body. By doing this and creating a really exclusive environment, you’re preventing people within the community from connecting, thereby limited the academic and social structure of the school.”
Conversations regarding the details of the proposed event registration plan will continue.
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