Campus Life pilots new event registration policy

In response to long-held concerns about student safety and campus culture, the College has recently announced a new initiative to register student-sponsored parties. In an interview with the Echo, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Life Erika Lamarre addressed how this new policy will manifest itself.
According to the 2015-2016 Student Handbook provided by the Dean of Students Office, the current rules for registered events state that any event serving alcohol must be registered by 9 a.m. on the Thursday prior to the event. Additionally, the handbook acknowledges the restrictions that are designed to encourage students to hold  parties or other social gatherings in individual student rooms, rather than residence hall lounges.
According to an email from Lamarre, the new policy supports “the more casual gatherings students may host in their rooms on weekends,” while the more formal “Event Registration” process caters to large “club or team sponsored events.”
Campus Life is currently piloting the program in Dana Hall, Roberts Hall, and the Heights, where the administration recognizes that the suite style living tends to make students host more frequent gatherings in their rooms, according to Lamarre. Campus Life is “eager to see that it will work for our community…[they] will partner with CAs and other students to see if it can work in other spaces,” and potentially be rolled out across all of campus for the next academic year, Lamarre said.
Given that the new policy is largely aimed at more casual gatherings, many students have expressed fears that they will incur potentially unnecessary attention from Campus Security if they choose to register their event. One anonymous student, who has previously had run-ins with Security while hosting large parties in his dorm room, said, “registering the parties seems like an added risk. If it is crowded, but people are behaving, Security would likely not know about it unless it is registered–which adds way more attention to it.”
According to Lamarre, there will indeed be some contact with the College as a result of using the new registration system, but there are also added benefits as well. Lamarre said in an email correspondence with the Echo, “When a student registers a party, they’ll have had a conversation with someone in Campus Life. Security will know which rooms are registered which means they won’t necessarily need to check on those areas. If a room or a suite not registered appears to have a lot of people in their space behaving irresponsibly, Security would be likely to address that in any circumstances,” regardless of the party being registered or not. Campus Life also noted that students would likely have the benefit of the doubt if their party got out of hand, but they took the initiative to register it.
Although unregistered parties should only have issues with Security and Campus Life if they are breaking College rules, similar issues faced at registered parties would be managed in a “cooperative effort,” Lamarre said. One of the most commonly cited reasons for Security breaking up a party is over-occupancy of a space, but in the case of registered parties, hosts would not be penalized for such an offense.
In regards to the presence of alcohol at these events, Lamarre said that student hosts are not expected to “ID” their peers or remain sober throughout the event, and any alcohol incident would be “handled individually.” However, any violation of alcohol or noise policies will still be confronted by Security and potentially the Dean’s Office.
Dorm damage, an issue that has been central to many conversations on the Hill this year, was also addressed by Campus Life’s new policy. Hosts will be liable for any damage done to their room, but if any damage is committed in the area outside their room, it will not automatically be charged to the hosts as a result of any assumed connections to the registered party. Lamarre hopes “students will remember their responsibility per the [Colby] Affirmation and hold themselves and each other accountable,” ultimately encouraging students to report damage and shift the financial responsibility for it towards those accountable.
Both Lamarre and Campus Life believe that this new policy, “when approached with transparency and good faith,” could alter the College’s social culture for the better. “This is an opportunity for students who don’t ordinarily interact with Campus Life to briefly connect with us and understand that we want students to have a good time in the halls,” Lamarre said.

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