Students question alcohol policy

By Julia Duperrault

Students criticized the college’s alcohol policy after the Office of Student Affairs announced a new ban on using empty alcohol bottles for decoration, also known as “trophy bottles.”  Students raised objections not only to the trophy bottle rule but the two-year-old ban on drinking games.

“It just seems like the administration has stopped trusting us,” said Pitzer senior Tim McCarty. “What makes CMC students or Harvey Mudd students better than us?  What makes it that their administration trusts them more than [Pitzer trusts] us?”

McCarthy sparked the policy debate last month by emailing Student-Talk, the student listserve, with sharp criticism of the drinking games ban, soliciting additional requests. Nearly 20 students weighed in, launching a heated discussion and prompting Student Senate Chair and senior Jon Rice to suggest that the issue be brought before the Senate.

Other students have questioned the lack of student involvement in crafting and revising the alcohol policy. The recent additions of the rules regarding drinking games and trophy bottles were made administratively and without student input.

“Students are involved in everything else at Pitzer, so why not the design of the alcohol policy?” said Pitzer senior Simone Fine. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. Pitzer is built on cooperation, not autocracy.”

According to Vice President for Student Affairs, Jim Marchant, the administration makes executive decisions about the alcohol policy in the interest of student health and safety. Changes to the policy are made in accordance with national trends and are based on emerging research about drug and alcohol use.

“The reason we do some of these policy changes without student consultation is because, the way our process works, it could take months or even years to make these changes, and we think in the best interest of students’ health and wellness, some of these things need to be implemented sooner rather than later,” said Dean of Student Affairs, Jim Marchant said. “It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to have conversations with students or that we’re not open to doing things differently.”

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