After a year that saw 26 alcohol transports and a reexamination of Bowdoin's party scene, the campus drinking culture picked up right where it left off. By the second day of classes four students had been transported to the hospital for reasons relating to alcohol, though there have been none since.
The transports ranged considerably in severity. According to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, one transport involved a student at a life-threatening level of intoxication while another was seen as a largely precautionary measure.
While Nichols was not pleased that the transports were necessary, he did note that the early parts of the semester are more conducive to increases in social—and alcohol-related—activity.
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster said the beginning of the year was crucial for student safety.
"We're in the red zone now, the first three weeks. It's the time when people are most at risk for alcohol abuse, sexual assault," Foster said. "I've heard from enough students that they're disappointed [in] the way it started."
Despite the rough start, Foster was encouraged by the second weekend of the school year, which lacked any major incidents—as did the entire summer. He also was pleased with the Orientation program for first years, citing Jason Kilmer—the alcohol expert brought in from the University of Washington—as an excellent resource.
Community Policing Officer Terry Goan felt the early transports were worrisome, but that they had to be looked at with a wider perspective in mind.
"Do I think it's an epidemic? No. Do I think it's a concern? Yes," Goan said. "The numbers here are pretty low, as opposed to other schools."
According to Nichols the most serious of the transports was a 21-year-old senior male. The student approached Yellow House on the night of August 30 and was "looking for a party [and] already highly intoxicated," Nichols said.
The Yellow House residents did not allow the student to enter, and attempted to escort him back to his Brunswick Apartments residence. Before they could make it far, the drunk student passed out on the corner of Harpswell Road and Watson Drive, at which point Security was called.
Brunswick Rescue was notified and the senior was admitted to the intensive care unit Parkview Medical Adventist Center, where he spent 17 hours before being released. Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster informed the Orient that, after this incident, the student in question is no longer enrolled at the College.
Nichols nor Goan would elaborate on the student's specific BAC, though Nichols did say he was at an "extremely dangerous level. A potentially lethal level, no question about that."
Two sophomore females were transported from MacMillan House during College House Orientation. According to Nichols, one of the women was "quite sick from alcohol poisoning" and Brunswick Rescue was called. The other female—who had been sleeping—was less intoxicated but was transported as a safety measure because she had been difficult to rouse.
As a consequence of their actions, Foster said both women were asked to leave campus until August 31—the regular move-in day for upperclassmen students. MacMillan House received six weeks of house probation, forbidding them from throwing events with alcohol in their house during that time.
MacMillan House President Tanu Kumar '12 said she saw reason in the punishment despite the fact that only two members of her house were responsible.
"At first I was pretty upset because it's a difficult way to start out the year—especially when you're trying to connect with our affiliates—but I understand," Kumar said. "There have to be consequences. It's frustrating, but I understand."
Community Policing Officer Goan was supportive of the discipline against MacMillan House, and stressed that the College Houses needed to take more responsibility for issues at their events.
Nichols and Goan both hoped that additional house members—beyond the alcohol and event hosts—would help run parties.
"I don't believe you can do an effective job monitoring people who could slide in through the back door or getting underage alcohol with only two people," Goan said.
Goan said Brunswick Police Deparment did not write up a College House last year, but warned that it was a possibility now.
"There will probably be more accountability on the social houses this year," Goan said.
The final transport was a first year female in Osher Hall who had consumed hard alcohol, was highly intoxicated, and was unable to respond to questions. Her fellow students called Security, and she was transported to the Parkview.
Nichols is making a point of talking at every first year dorm and College House, as well as some of the off-campus houses later this month. Goan has and will join Nichols for some of these.
Nichols continued to stress a strong relationship with BPD.
"All I can say is I am very comfortable with the relationship with BPD," Nichols said. "I like Chief Rizzo's approach more and more. I like his philosophy and approach and it meshes really well with mine."