Updated 10/12/12 3:01 p.m.
The Office of Safety and Security has stepped up enforcement of the College’s alcohol policy in response to events at two off-campus houses and at the Epicuria party last month at Ladd House. In an effort to prevent additional transports, Security will increase its presence at campus-wide parties and closely regulate unregistered events, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
“Students should expect an answer, so to speak, from an enforcement perspective, whenever we have reason to increase our enforcement efforts as a result of a bad weekend,” said Nichols, referring to incidents at the September 15 Epicuria party. “And I think certainly once things settle down, we’ll adjust our enforcement accordingly.”
On the night of the Epicuria party, two underage members of the rugby team were transported to Parkview Adventist Medical Center due to overconsumption of alcohol. In addition, two members of the rugby team received legal summonses in connection with an off-campus event at Union Street.
Security will be strictly enforcing its hard alcohol policy in response to the four transports that occurred on the night of the toga party, Nichols said. Students found in possession of hard alcohol will be written up, and officers will patrol the upper floors of College Houses during registered events to ensure that students are not consuming hard alcohol.
“During Epicuria, two of the transports occurred as a result from consuming hard alcohol upstairs,” said Nichols. “Had we been more vigilant on the walk-throughs during those events, we might have been able to prevent those [transports].”
Nichols said that officers will conduct more frequent “walk-throughs” of the College Houses and first year residence halls in order to address “any obvious alcohol violations.” Nichols specified that alcohol violations include pre-gaming and, in particular, drinking games.
Nichols emphasized that Security’s approach towards underage drinking will continue to focus on what they consider the most dangerous violations.
Rather than strictly enforcing all underage drinking, Security takes a “more nuanced approach, where our efforts focus on the more high risk violations, the ones that are more likely to lead to hospitalizations, arrests, or people getting injured or killed,” he said.
Security noticeably upped its presence at the ABC party at Helmreich House on Saturday, September 29. Security increased the number of officers patrolling the area and broke up two drinking games that took place at Helmreich earlier in the evening.
Cameron Woodford ’15, president of Helmreich House, said that Security had notified Helmreich House that it would increase its presence “by three times as much” after the Epicuria incident.
“Security showed up a lot…even before anyone else showed up” to the ABC party, he said.
“We don’t mind an increased presence, but we felt almost like we were being heckled,” said Woodford.
“I hadn’t experienced Security on that level before,” added Jared Littlejohn ’15 , proctor of Helmreich House.
According to Woodford, in addition to increasing its presence at the House and breaking up the drinking games, Security reprimanded the alcohol host (A-host) Tyler Silver ’13 for leaving his post to go to the bathroom during the party.
In an email to the Orient, Nichols wrote that after noticing that Silver had left the keg and a minor was serving beer in his stead, "I temporarily shut down the tap and sent someone to fetch the A-Host, who I was told was in the bathroom. When the A-Host returned, I explained the violation and made it clear that when he has to leave the kegs he needs to take steps to secure the tap or otherwise ensure that no one other than he serves the alcohol. If necessary, I suggested, he could remove the tap and take it with him to ensure that he alone has control of it. Another option that I offered was to have someone watch over the kegs (without serving) until he returns."
“Randy told me and the A-Host that if he wanted to go to the bathroom, he needed to untap the keg and take the tap with him, which seemed unreasonable and unsanitary,” said Woodford. “He told us that we needed to tighten it up, run a tighter ship…He kept telling us to tighten it up, and [when] we asked him to explain what he meant by tightening it up, he didn’t really have an explanation for us.”
Nichols, however, wrote that he "made it abundantly clear to the A-Host what he had to do to 'tighten up.'"
“There’s a certain level of mutual respect between Security and the students on this campus, and we were doing everything they asked,” added Woodford. “We were really safe…Helmreich hasn’t had any problems this year, and I just think we were being treated a little unfairly.”
However, Silver said that he appreciated Security’s monitoring efforts.
“Security was just checking up on the party in Helmreich last Friday, and from my perspective they were just making sure everything was running smoothly and safely,” wrote Silver in an email to the Orient, “which I appreciated as the A-Host, especially considering Helmreich is right on Maine Street.”
Nichols noted that Security “found a couple violations of the way alcohol was being handled by the Alcohol Host” during the ABC party and that “the Alcohol Host was away from his post when he should not have been.”
“We addressed that and made sure he understood what our expectations were,” said Nichols. “But we had no reason to shut down the event. The event itself went relatively well.”
Security officers have attended recent College House meetings to inform students of the new policy, according to Associate Director of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon.
However, Jordan Goldberg ’14, vice president of the IHC, said that College House residents “are a little on edge” and have expressed uncertainty about how the alcohol policy will affect College House programming.
“They’re not really sure what’s going to be happening now. They haven’t really experienced Security really cracking down [before this semester],” he explained.
Residents are unsure whether “five people drinking beer and watching a football game” would be dispersed by Security under stricter enforcement of the drinking policy, said Goldberg.
Despite the increased presence of Security at parties, Woodford said he does not anticipate the stricter policy to significantly impact how College Houses conduct campus-wide events.
“When Security walks through a party now, everyone just sort of continues to go about their business,” he said. “I think the increased presence of Security actually makes things a lot easier. I just really hope that as long as nothing’s going wrong, we can both be polite to each other.”
“If Security’s going to be that much of a presence at a campus-wide, I think it’ll make sure everyone stays on their toes,” added Littlejohn. “I can’t imagine that’s ever a bad thing.”
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article reported that Nichols did not provide an explanation of the violations of College policy at Helmreich House. The online article has been updated to reflect the details of Nichols' response to alcohol violations at the ABC party.