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Drug & Alcohol Task Force finishes revisions

Zosie Sandell’s suspension for drug possession during fall term sparked criticism of Carleton’s drug and alcohol policies. A group of students, faculty and staff formed to help streamline the policy.

Two terms later, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Task force has just about accomplished its task, said Marco Dow ‘17, a member of the group.

The 12-member group met weekly throughout winter and spring terms to pick through the alcohol and other drugs policy and suggest revisions. Now, those revisions will go to the new Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston; the administration’s lawyer; and the College Council, which will ultimately write a new policy, according to Dow.

Dow said the group’s most drastic suggestion was to add a medical amnesty clause. The clause would cut penalties for underage drinking and drug use for students who are caught while seeking medical help.

The group suggested revisions to several sections that it found unclear, including the section on repercussions for drinking and drug use. Dow said the punishment for some offenses is “up to expulsion,” which isn’t very specific. Among the group’s other targets were sections on official party registration and residential versus disciplinary probation.

Dow said his final goal is to change Carleton’s drinking culture. He said there’s too much peer pressure to drink. To start, he said “The Buzz” presentation for new students should be revised to clarify that drinking isn’t necessary at Carleton; in fact, it causes problems.

“I think, to some extent, our task has been completed,” Dow said. 

Next year, the task of altering alcohol’s role on campus will fall on Patrick Gordon, who will oversee the use of a 5-year grant to reduce underage alcohol and drug use on campus.

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