Alcohol and Other Drug Policies changed, clarified

To better comprehend and clarify certain clauses that members of the campus community may have previously miscontrued, the College made changes on Jan. 1 to its Alcohol and Other Drug Policies.

It is required by federal law that college policies be reviewed biannually and, if necessary, revised to assure that the policy is both effective and complies with local, state and federal laws.

The Committee for Student and Campus Community (CSCC), led by Glenn Steinberg, associate professor of English, helped put the changes into effect.

One of the changed clauses was the Non-Residential Campus Facilities, which now indicates that the “service, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages … shall be permitted in non-residential campus facilities” as long as it is at “officially sponsored social gatherings” of members of the campus community who are of legal age.

The old policy failed to specify whether alcohol use by those of legal age in non-residential campus facilities was permitted or prohibited, which left some people confused, especially members of the faculty who may have college-sponsored events where alcohol is served.

The policy also clarifies the definition of campus-affiliated events (off-campus events) and makes the procedures for obtaining a license easier to understand.

“The chief problem was that the policy was extremely complicated and confusing,” Steinberg said. “We mostly just cut out a lot and reorganized the policy.”

Minor changes in the policy consisted of updating the names of staff and administrative figures and making sure that the changes comply with state and federal laws.

One of these changes resulted from the change in the blood alcohol level in New Jersey, which was lowered last January from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent. It will now take less alcohol consumption for a student to be declared intoxicated.

In 2003, Steinberg and his committee, comprised of the dean of Student Life, the associate vice president of Human Resources, five faculty members, four undergraduate students, one graduate student and three staff members, recommended revisions to the policy, hoping that it would result in a more concise, less vague policy.

Although CSCC was responsible for making the revisions, the committee also received input from other organizations on campus such as the Steering Committee, the Student Government Association and the Alcohol and Drug Education Program.

Students in the committee also worked in the revision process. The vice chair of the committee, for example, was Rebecca Alimena, a student who graduated from the College last year.

“Students are voting members so they do have a say,” Steinberg said. “We try very hard to get lots of student input.”

Mary-Elaine Perry, vice president of Student Life, who is responsible for enforcing the policy, described the revision as a “cleaning up of the policy, a reasonable application of laws and statutes, clear and fair to the community, not repetitive and easy to understand.”

Perry said she is proud of CSCC’s work on the revisions and is pleased with Steinberg’s leadership.

“He and the Committee for Student and Campus Community put in a great deal of work and are to be commended for both the process and the product,” she said.

“I think it makes more sense now when you read it as a document,” Jason Neely, coordinator of Community Standards, said. “From an administrative standpoint, it is easy to see how we comply with Drug Free Schools and Community Act.”

Many students also regard the revised policy as an improvement.

“I think it’s good that they simplified the document because now kids are more likely to read something that is written on their level,” Luke Boralsky, freshman open options science major, said.

Other students recognize that the revisions make the policy easier to comprehend but question whether many students will actually read it.

“I think it’s a good idea that it is more understandable,” Tamaria Green, freshman sociology major, said. “But I think they should make it more well-known and publicize it more because many people don’t take the time to read it.”

CSCC is now busy working on revising other policies at the College, including a student travel policy, Web page policy, a campus disciplinary policy and a smoking policy that could possibly ban smoking in residence halls.