The Campus Life Council met with Bill Kirk, associate vice president for Residence Life, Monday to comment on possible revisions of the du Lac student handbook, emphasizing in particular the progression of disciplinary sanctions and the University’s policies for alcohol consumption on campus.
CLC members cited concern for the outline of disciplinary action set forth by the Office of Residence Life after Kirk presented potential reviews of du Lac during last week’s meeting.
“One of our general perceptions about the way that du Lac is currently structured is that there ought to be some type of procedural provision for cases that may not need for a disciplinary record to be opened,” student body vice president Cynthia Weber said. “Can the Office of Residence Life enact educational action without disciplinary action?”
Student body president Grant Schmidt said misunderstandings about the rules in du Lac could deter students from properly reporting an unsafe situation. Cases of medical amnesty and leniency for first-time offenses were brought forward as examples of policies that may need clarification.
“Our whole reason for maintaining disciplinary records is to document a student’s history in case of further offense and to create records if we should have to deal with inquiries from other institutions,” Kirk said.
Kirk said the University has “a whole series of levels of sanctions” in place to regulate the disciplinary process and said that his office could benefit to learn from any research on these issues.
Community service as a sanction for certain behaviors was analyzed during the last meeting, and members of the Council agreed this volunteer time was an appropriate disciplinary response.
“Community service is a way for students who have taken something away from community to give something back,” Zahm Hall rector Corry Colonna said.
Another disciplinary issue on the table was the University’s handling of drinking games. The current policy in du Lac cites participation in drinking games as abusive drinking, a statement that the members of du Lac advised relaxing.
“We have heard the desire on several occasions to see more flexibility in the drinking game policy,” Weber said. “While I am not advocating drinking games, most advocate more social drinking than excess.”
Schmidt questioned whether students are drawn off campus during the weekends because of the stringent policy on drinking games in dorm rooms. He pointed out that students of legal drinking age are not allowed to partake in drinking games on campus.
“I think that the vast majority of the drinking that goes on campus is illegal,” Kirk said. “And though we respect the privacy of student’s rooms, I would hesitate to extend that policy to drinking games.”
Kirk said the Office of Residence Life would not consider revising its stance on drinking games.
“The purpose of most drinking games is to consume a lot of alcohol in a short period of time,” Kirk said. “And frankly, it can be considered sinful to deliberately give up your ability to make good and rational decisions that way.”
Other suggestions for the Office of Residence Life included methods to make students more aware of the policies in the student handbook.
Council member Bridget Bredemann posed the idea of a video for freshman orientation in order to make du Lac regulations more approachable, and she suggested using the off-campus Web site as a “resource to clarify what is relevant for students living off campus.”
The Council will continue discussions of the du Lac revisions with Kirk as the review process continues.