Campus Hard Liquor Ban?
Over on One Dean’s View, Tim Spears writes that he and President of Middlebury College Ron Liebowitz “held a candid conversation with res life staff, deans, and Commons Heads about how best to address the damaging effects of irresponsible drinking in student life.” But what exactly was brought up at that candid conversation?
RAs around campus report that the possibility of a hard-liquor ban on campus was brought up at that meeting. As a way to curb irresponsible drinking, a hard liquor ban would mean that anyone caught with hard-liquor on campus would be at least cited, if not subject to further punishment. The loose idea/proposal ultimately falls to Dean of the College Gus Jordan to follow-up this year. But will he? And how will he go about proposing such a ban when there could be a quite an uproar or even backlash among students?
The pressure is certainly on. Middlebury College President Ronald Liebowitz spoke at the First-year Convocation just over a week ago saying, “The irresponsible use of alcohol, though committed by a relatively small minority of students, is by far the greatest cause of disrespectful behavior toward the community here at Middlebury. I should point out that I am not suggesting, or even advocating, that students should not drink. I know better… I am, however, saying that those who do drink irresponsibly need to understand how their behavior often results in disrespect toward their fellow students, staff, and, in indirect ways, their faculty, and that they are diminishing the quality of life and education not only for themselves, but for many others.” This follows his speech last spring at baccalaureate, which made for an interesting topic choice for a celebratory event. Associate Dean of the College Karen Guttentag confirmed that a non-judicial set of community standards may be on its way. Growing out of the student life division, a group “has been working on an initiative to define more clearly and accessibly the guiding principles of living, working and studying at Middlebury.” This falls directly in line the “community” theme that Liebowitz has set out.
According to several sources, a movement for a hard-liquor ban was attempted many years ago under the reign of Ann Hanson but was quickly challenged by students who vehemently opposed such a ban.
Interestingly enough, 51 Main, which opened this summer, has become the first college establishment to have a full bar (with hard alcohol).
MiddBlog wants to know: Do you support a campus-wide hard-liquor ban? What should the rules for such a ban look like? How should we look at this proposal in light of the Amethyst Initiative and 51 Main?
EDIT 9/17/08: Associate Dean of the College Karen Guttentag statements have been altered to reflect her comments more accurately.