As Ivies approaches, we often use this space to caution students against excess revelry, and this year is no different. However, in light of recent events involving students and the use of fake IDs, this cautionary message has more to do with the tangible, monetary consequences of violating the law or the College's social code than the health risks. While students should be held accountable for their actions, we question one of the College's measures.
After students are transported, the College requires that they attend three counseling sessions with Geno Ring, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor in Brunswick; the total cost of the three sessions is $300, which students must pay in full. The cost of counseling can be a financial burden to students on top of the expense of treatment and transport to Parkview or Midcoast Medical Center. Transports are almost always the result of reckless behavior, but some students who are transported do not have long-term drinking problems, and not every one of these students needs three expensive counseling sessions.
The Orient found that many students who have been sent to Ring found counseling very helpful in navigating Bowdoin's drinking culture. The College offers two free sessions with Ring to students who seek help on their own, and it is unfair to make only some pay. Or, if a transport really was just the unexpected result of an anomalous night of poor judgment , the $300 counseling fee becomes a disciplinary fine. The College does not impose punitive monetary fees for most transgressions of College policy that do not result in property damage.
Perhaps a better approach would be to mandate that students who have been transported must attend one session with Ring—free of charge—and then decide whether to continue counseling based on his recommendations. For some, an hour-long session might be enough to reflect upon their mistakes and lay out a roadmap for future substance use (or abstinence). Others may require longer-term counseling, and should by all means pay for that service (Ring has noted that he is open to negotiating the cost of his services with students).
If students are concerned about a friend's well-being, they should be able to call Security without worrying about potential disciplinary action. By imposing even this relatively minor regulation, Bowdoin runs the risk of dissuading potential callers from seeking help when it is truly needed. Deciding whether or not to call should not be contingent on if one's friend can spare $300.
All the same, we applaud the College's free alcohol counseling services, and we encourage students to make use of this resource as Ivies nears. It wouldn't hurt to keep in mind that as long as the current disciplinary policy remains in place, having one drink too many could cost you.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which is comprised of Erica Berry, Nick Daniels, Carlo Davis, Sam Frizell, Linda Kinstler, and Zoë Lescaze.