May 20, 2010

College’s party policy to be revisited soon

By the end of next year, students can expect to see changes to Knox’s social events policy.

“The policy hasn’t been revisited in over ten years,” Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern said. Southern decided that the policy needed a facelift. “Some of it doesn’t make sense.”

Few students understand the ins and outs of the current policy, and some of its provisions are not well-known or enforced.

“Whatever comes up over the next [few] months, we’re going to have to do a good and very intensive job of reintroducing things to the student body,” Southern said.

In other cases, students have simply found ways around the policy. For example, social events with alcohol are not allowed to be advertised—at least around campus. Yet most groups advertise their events on Facebook, making this provision of the policy somewhat outdated.

Southern explained that the choice to look at the social events policy was made when responsibility for overseeing the policy fell to him after Assistant Director of Campus Life Jimmy Stewart left Knox in the fall.

“I started to have contact with the social events [policy] on a regular basis, and I noticed stuff that didn’t make sense to students or to me,” he added.

Southern is unsure of what will change, but he has several questions he wants answered, including whether the policy exists as anything more than a record for Campus Safety in case something goes awry and if having a party policy actually hampers social events.

“[Throwing a party] for the first time can be overwhelming,” Southern said. “So how do we make the process easier and clearer?”

Southern stressed that he does not know what the new policy will look like and wants to get the input of a variety of constituencies, including Campus Safety, Greek houses and people who have thrown house and apartment parties in the past.

“I have no preconceived notions of what I want changed,” he said. “I’m not looking to make it any more stringent or any less stringent. I want to update the policy, see what’s working and see what students want.”

Over the summer, Southern plans to meet with Campus Safety to begin work on revising the policy. In the fall, the Campus Life Office will table, send out a survey and possibly hold open forums in which students can voice their opinions, ideas and concerns.

“I want to be more real,” Southern said. “Right now, students look at the policy and go, ‘What?’ I want to make it more realistic.”

Anna Meier

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