Thelmo Proposes Party Resolution
Thelmo led a discussion last week during its meeting regarding alcohol event registration on campus. The Thelmo Senate will vote on a resolution drafted by the executive board last night week, after additional student input is added.
Thelmo’s vice president of university relations Josh Lashway ’13 and student life chair Iain Hart ‘12 gave a brief outline to the senate on the issues surrounding alcohol event registration. The university allows students to register parties on campus where a six-pack of beer or malt liquor can be brought into the event by students over 21 years of age. Among the problems with the registration process was budget exclusivity involved with hosting an event, supervision concerns specifically with the Training for Intervention Procedures, T.I.P.S, monitors, and the lack of knowledge among students regarding the registration process in general. All of the issues, along with proposed solutions, were included in the resolution.
According to Thelmo President Robby Glass ’13, resolutions send a message to the administration, faculty, staff, board of trustees, and regional community that the majority of the student body supports the content of the Resolution. “If the Event Registration Resolution were to pass next week, it would send a message to the administration along with the safety and security and student activities departments, that the student body does not support the current event registration system,” said Glass. After a resolution is passed, the appropriate constituencies work together to fix the problem outlined in the resolution.
According to Glass, Thelmo typically passes between one to five resolutions a semester. In the past, Thelmo has passed resolutions to change the grading scale from a .5 scale to a .25 scale, and to have a carry-over on student’s pay-for-print sheets. Both of these resolutions became policy on campus.
“Within reasonable limits, student opinions through these resolutions and through the discussions are extremely valuable,” said Vice President and Dean of Student Life Joe Tolliver. “It allows [administration] to see that a group of knowledgeable students are unified, or not, behind a certain issue.”
In order for any resolution to be sent to the appropriate parties, the Senate must first vote on it. Before voting on the drafted resolution for alcohol event registration, the Executive Board approached the Senate for feedback
Many senators agreed with event registration excluding organization with smaller budgets from hosting an event. For events with alcohol present, the university requires that the hosting organization pay for the security monitors that are required to attend (depending on the expected number of attendees), in addition to food catered through the university’s dining services. Both security monitors and providing food at events are required through the university’s insurance policy, sometimes costing organizations up to $2000. Senators agreed that the costs to cater the parties were often too high, especially when most of the food was left uneaten.
Dean Tolliver clarified the university’s contract with dining service’s catering fees. “[Dining Services] are covering their costs – they are not necessarily out to make a significant profit.” He went on to explain that Pub 56 and Newell, both popular dining options for students, typically run “on the red,” meaning they rarely gross enough profit to cover operating costs. Catering fees traditionally have helped dining services as a whole remain profitable – “although not by much,” explained Tolliver.
While all organizations can submit a contingency request to Thelmo for funding, many students aren’t aware of the option. Senator Wyatt McKibben ’12 suggested that instead, Thelmo should donate a portion of its contingency funds, currently at just over $30,000 left for the rest of the semester, just for food and security costs at campus events. McKibben explained that this would allow any individual or organization with a great and reasonable idea for an event to make it happen.
Many senators expressed discontent with the amount of time and energy that was required to host an event. Hart explained that although the registration process appears simple, it is often exceedingly difficult to execute. He suggested that the student life office begin to offer templates for campus organizations to choose from. “Picture being able to choose from a list of options, including AV and staging set-ups, which would vary depending on the expected number of attendees,” said Hart. Currently, students approach the student life office with an idea, and depending on the factors such as the size and expectations of the event, meet with security, facilities, and other departments.
Tyler Wight ‘13, A Senator and Outing Club representative in Thelmo, reported using Iain Hart, who has hosted several events, as a mentor to navigate his way through the event registration process. “It shouldn’t have to be that complicated,” said Wight.
The resolution also proposed paying T.I.P.S monitors, currently a volunteer position. The position was previously a paid one, but became unpaid in the middle of the 2010 fall semester. Senators Eliza Cress and Bourke Kraus both signed up for T.I.P.S. training last fall, just before the position became unpaid. Cress and Kraus expressed frustration at the change, and agreed with the suggestion to once again pay the position.
“I absolutely wouldn’t mind giving up a night of my weekend for a paycheck.” said Senator Eliza Cress. McKibben explains that there have been problems with T.I.P.S. monitors in the past two semesters. “I’ve seen T.I.P.S. monitors drinking on the job, leaving the party they’re supposed to be supervising, and just not doing their job. A paycheck would definitely hold them more accountable,” said McKibben.
Another suggestion in the resolution was requiring representatives from each campus organization to attend an event registration workshop. “It’s a great idea,” said Amy Calapa “we can make that happen, no problem.” According to Josh Lashway, each registered campus organization would select two representatives to attend an hour-long workshop about the process every fall and every spring. “This way, every organization would then have students capable of putting on a safe and fun event for the community,” added Lashway.
The resolution states “the university’s policies regarding events with alcohol ultimately create a dangerous drinking environment for students.” Lashway explained that making the event registration process easier for students would inevitably create a safer drinking atmosphere. “If there are more things going on around campus on the weekends, students will be less likely to gather in small groups in dorm rooms and binge-drink,” said Lashway. “Supervision at these events, by T.I.P.S. monitors, security, and even other students, can only make for a safer drinking culture on campus.”
The drafted resolution can be found by checking out the bulletin board across from the Hill News Office, or by contacting Thelmo secretary, Sarah Deakins.