February 8, 2012

Simplifying party procedures

After discussing changing the social events policy for nearly two years, Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern said that revisions could be completed by the end of the year.

Some changes have already been put in place, including having Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf become more involved in helping students plan and execute events. Still, a full-scale review of the policy has not yet been completed.

“It hasn’t been changed for an awfully long time, and we need to re-look at it,” Southern said. “But I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t pushed it. It’s still on my agenda — high on my agenda — but it just hasn’t happened yet.”

Southern first considered revisiting the policy after oversight thereof fell to him when Assistant Director of Campus Life Jimmy Stewart resigned in the fall of 2009. Some items, such as requiring paper guest lists, immediately seemed anachronistic to Southern.

“The question is, why do we do these things since most guest lists … come out via Facebook now?” he said. “Some things … didn’t make any sense based on what we were doing from a realistic sense.”

Another possible area for revision includes how the policy applies to different living spaces. The current policy follows a “one size fits all” approach as to how places of residence are treated, which Southern believes does not reflect the many venues available for holding social events.

“Most of our social events do still take place in fraternities, but do we need to make it easier or more difficult in the residence halls?” Southern said.

Southern hopes to also investigate better ways of disseminating information to students regarding the rules for holding a social event. Right now, event hosts are required to take a brief test to determine whether or not they understand college regulations.

“I’m sure there are easier ways, but are there better ways to make sure that folks know what the policies are?” Southern said.

In moving towards reexamining the social events policy, Southern hopes to first meet with residents of fraternities, apartments and houses, since these three areas hold the most parties. The opinions he collects from these discussions will then be taken to the Campus Life Office, Office of Student Development, Student Life Committee and Student Senate for further input.

“In a perfect world … I could have it done by the end of the year,” Southern said. “That would give us a chance to look at all of our processes [and] how we do them.”

In reality, Southern also feels that having a revised social events policy by the end of the year is an optimistic but possible goal.

“I am hoping to get going with the fraternities very quickly,” Southern said. “It is still on my list of things to do. It just keeps being pushed back a little bit.”

Anna Meier

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