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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Students reflect on alcohol policy at Town Hall meeting

<esponse to a recent outpouring of concerns and questions regarding Carleton’s alcohol policy, CSA held a town hall meeting on Wednesday April 21 to address the issue. Through informative presentations and small group discussion the CSA sought to help dispel rumors and brainstorm strategies for improving the drinking culture at Carleton.

Jeremy Girton of the newly formed Alcohol Review Committee, RA representative Ben Blink ’10, head of the Rotblatt committee Ted Longbaugh ’11 and senate member Rebecca Gourevitch ’12 gave presentations on alcohol-related resources for students. Girton clarified that although the college was interested in analyzing students’ relationship with the alcohol policy on campus as well as comparing Carleton’s policy to those of other similar institutions, it is not planning on making any changes to the policy. Girton emphasized that in order for the Alcohol Review Committee to reach its goals of maintaining student safety and improving the drinking culture on campus, it needs as much student feedback as possible. The Committee urged students to contact any of its members with questions or suggestions.

Following Blink’s account of the impact of alcohol on campus as experienced by RAs, Longbaugh announced the continuation of Rotblatt on May 15.  As a student run and sponsored event, Longbaugh stressed the significance of Rotblatt as a celebration of Carleton’s history and its’ place as a day of unity on which Carleton students of different classes and interest groups come together as one.

Designed to provide a venue for students to reflect on their experience with alcohol at Carleton, the meeting concluded with small group discussions lead by Senate members. Students were asked to answer questions such as what they thought of the drinking community at Carleton and how they imagined better drug and alcohol education could be incorporated into the initiation presentations to freshmen. Student responses ranged from appreciation of the inclusive nature of the party atmosphere on campus to frustration with the lack of accountability students uphold when drinking.

In general, the discussions reflected hope that as a whole, students might learn to monitor their intake more effectively and recognize that when inebriated, their actions can have serious consequences for themselves and others.  

Students were also provided with statistics reporting alcohol related property destruction, hospital visits and noise complaints. The security and residential life statistics reveal a rise in hospital transports from five in the 2007-2008 school year to 17 in the 2008-2009 and a rise in ‘loud party’ complaints from 23 to 50. Although these statistics may appear alarming, a new information reporting system was implemented in January of this year; thus, it may be difficult to draw any conclusions of past statistics that may not have been as accurately collected.

Despite the ambiguity of these stats, security records illustrate an undeniable trend upwards in alcohol related property destruction in the 2008-2009 year. Many students similarly conveyed concern in the small group discussions over the lack of accountability of inebriated students involved in theft or property destruction. With the new record keeping system in place, more reliable statistics should soon make possible the evaluation of any persistent trends.

Wellness Center representatives, Residential Life staff, Security officials, Associate Dean of Students Cathy Carlson, Director of OIIL Joy Kluttz, RAs and around one hundred and fifty Carleton students attended the meeting.

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