Since convocation ushered in a new academic year at Bowdoin last Tuesday, three students have been transported to Mid Coast Hospital due to risk of alcohol poisoning. This marks the first time since 2012 that any Bowdoin student has been transported during the first week of school.

The first transport took place on August 30, when a female member of the Class of 2019 was transported from an off-campus residence on School Street. The following two occurred during the College House crawl, the second registered campus-wide event of the year, with one student transported on September 1 from Burnett House and another in the early hours of September 2 from West Hall. Both of these students were first years.

According to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols and Captain Mark Waltz of the Brunswick Police Department (BPD), hard alcohol was involved in the two transports of first years. It is unclear whether hard alcohol was involved in the third incident.

After a semester with the lowest-ever number of transports in Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster’s 20-year tenure at the College, this figure troubled but did not entirely surprise Nichols, Foster and Waltz.

“I certainly anticipated we could have a problem this weekend,” said Nichols. “We’ve got 500 new students running around College Houses. Things are going to happen.”

Foster referred to the first few weeks of the academic year as the “Red Zone,” a period during which the possibility for alcohol misuse and sexual assault is the greatest.

“A lot of people [are] coming to campus who are experimenting with certain things,” said Foster. “Suddenly they have freedom now that they didn’t necessarily have before.”

Director of Residential Life (ResLife) and Associate Dean of Student Affairs Meadow Davis said she did not feel that the College Houses were promoting unsafe drinking.

“I was really impressed with the message that the College Houses sent to their first years,” Davis said. “I don’t think there was anything that they sent that made people feel like you have to be incapacitated to come to these places.”

While three transports is a high number for the first week, Davis expressed hope that students can make better choices in the future.

“My hope would be that people see the College Houses, as well as all of the social environments at Bowdoin, not as places that they are drinking a lot before, but as places where they are getting to know people and are doing that in a not dangerous way or incapacitated state,” she said.

Historically, Bowdoin’s transport numbers have been low compared to other NESCAC schools.

“We have on an absolute basis the fewest number of transports, and on a per-student basis the smallest percentage of transports,” Foster said.

Davis praised students’ attentiveness to each other’s well-being while at events involving alcohol.

“One of my big takeaways is that from everything I have heard students did a really great job of looking out for students, recognizing when someone really needed support and help and reaching out to security,” she said.

Waltz said that no students were cited by BPD following the off-campus transport. However, Nichols warned that students should be cautious when hosting and attending off-campus parties.

We are not permitted to be a first responder to an off-campus house because we don’t own the house,” Nichols said. “That’s private property, and so College policy prohibits us from being first responders. However, we have a very good relationship with the Brunswick Police Department and they normally call Security whenever they respond to an off-campus house inhabited by Bowdoin students, because we can be a resource for [the students].”

Nichols, Foster and Davis said that despite the high transport figures for the first week in comparison to the previous five years, the events won’t lead to a crackdown or changes in campus alcohol policy. Security, Student Affairs and ResLife will follow the same procedures and encourage the same behavior as they have in the past.

“My hope and belief is that—given where we’ve been the last number of years—this will be an aberration, but we’ll see,” Foster said. “We’re going to continue to do the many, many things that we have done that have served us well.”

Waltz likewise said that the week’s three transports will not change how BPD interacts with the College.

As events like Epicuria—the annual toga party thrown by the men’s rugby team that has historically been associated with a high number of transports—approach, Nichols advised students to make good decisions and watch out for each other.

“Your safety and well-being is largely determined by the choices you make and the friends that you take,” he said. “The safest and smartest thing any student can do when they go out at night is to have a good friend with you.”