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Group debates alcohol issues

Megan Doyle | Thursday, December 2, 2010

Student Senate debated improvements to alcohol education and made further changes to the process for undergraduate elections Wednesday.

Senators reported feedback from their dorms about the way program such as “College HAS Issues” and Peers Inspiring Listening, Learning and Responsible Socializing (PILLARS) educate students about drinking.

Student body vice president Andrew Bell said student government would like to improve alcohol education.

“We bring these issues up because we now have a Campus Life Council (CLC) task force that is addressing the culture of drinking on campus, and we thought a good place to start would be alcohol education,” Bell said. “We are looking at an overview of the way students learn about drinking.”

Some senators said students in their dorms felt overwhelmed by the amount of alcohol education at the beginning of their freshman year but did not see much education after first week of school. Siegfried senator Kevin McDermott said freshmen found the “College HAS Issues” seminar to be repetitive.

Senators also suggested ways to expand alcohol education.

Carroll Hall senator John Sanders said more education on Indiana State laws would be especially relevant to students at Notre Dame.

Cavanaugh senator Tegan Chapman said her dorm asked about the signs of alcohol poisoning, and Farley senator Leslie Tatlow was concerned about medical amnesty.

“A lot of the girls in my dorm wanted to know what to do if a friend is sick [after drinking] but you are worried about getting in trouble,” Tatlow said.

Chief of staff Nick Ruof said a formal medical amnesty policy was not put into place last year after student government discussed the issue with the administration.

“What we came to realize is that in a ResLife meeting [the administration] takes into consideration the entire situation,” Ruof said. “You should be worried about your friends’ health over getting in trouble.”

Student government will continue to look at alcohol education and try to improve, Bell said.

The Student Senate also passed a resolution to change several clauses in the constitution on undergraduate elections. Oversight chair Paige Becker and Judicial Council president Marcelo Perez presented the changes to the senators.

The Senate passed a resolution earlier this month to create an Executive Committee to deal with allegations made against candidates for election.

One of the most significant changes to the constitution related to campaigning on election day.

Previously, the Judicial Council could sanction a candidate if a supporter posted the voting link in a Facebook status on the day of an election, Becker said. Now, the link will only be accessible through an e-mail to students.

“One of the positive things we felt about this change was that the link to the voting website only goes out to the student body through an e-mail from Judicial Council,” Becker said. “Candidates are not allowed to provide this link to anyone else.”

Changes were also made to reformat and clarify parts of the constitution. The resolution passed with 25 votes in favor.