New guidelines aim to put damper on parties

By Jeff Frankel

The University has revised its drinking guidelines and sanctions following recommendations from the task force created after the alcohol-related death of a freshman fraternity pledge last spring.

The guidelines, which are now policy for this semester, were part of the 19 recommendations conceived by the Presidential Task Force on Alcohol, Personal Responsibility and Student Life. The group re-evaluated previously implemented alcohol codes of
conduct.

The first guidelines created a university-wide policy prohibiting alcohol at both residence halls and Greek houses, said Debbie Stasolla, vice chair of the task force.

Greeks will no longer be able to host parties where alcohol is served in an unsupervised manner, she said. Events would need to be licensed and in supervised venues on campus, such as the Rider Pub.

“Social events were allowed in Greek houses under strict parameters,” she said. “We are now treating all Greek halls as if they were residence halls.”

But Stasolla did say legal-age drinking is still permitted on campus. Certain pub nights will also allow students under 21 onto the premises, but those students cannot drink.

“If you are of age, you can drink,” she said.

Parties or “social events,” as the Task Force refers to them, will not be allowed in any residence halls or Greek houses if alcohol is served, said Keith Kemo, director of judicial affairs. However, the exact number of people that makes a party was left ambiguous.

“The number was left out,” he said. “When individuals’ behavior begins to violate the policy, that’s what we need to look for.”

The report also outlines mandatory parental notification for all alcohol policy violations and other sanctions, which can range from costlier fines to permanent loss of parking or housing.

“Sanctions must have a substantial impact on students in order to promote deterrence and to support a safe environment for all,” the policy reads. “They should increase appropriately in severity, based on the frequency of the violations and the degree to which they contribute to an unsafe environment.”

Underage sanctions for violation of the alcohol policy come in two levels under the new guidelines, Kemo said. Tier 1 violations constitute possession and/or non-abusive consumption of alcohol. First violation penalties include parental notification, $100 fine, mandatory alcohol education program and community service, the alcohol policy states.

Repeat Tier 1 violations have more severe penalties and four or more violations can result in a $300 fine, in addition to the penalties for one violation. Other penalties include: suspension from participation in social/recreational events for a certain time period; removal from campus housing; dismissal from the University; and other “relevant sanctions.”

Tier 2 violations constitute abusive and high-risk consumption, Kemo said. Being in possession of a large amount of alcohol or playing such games as beer pong, will yield stiffer penalties and fines.

First-time violations under the Tier 2 category require parental notification, a $200 fine, community restitution and a warning that further violations will result in loss of campus driving privileges.

The penalties become more severe for every violation. Four or more violations would also include the loss of driving privileges for one year, removal from campus housing, and even dismissal from the University.

Failure to attend the mandatory alcohol education or consultation would result in an additional $200 fine. The student will not have access to course selection or room selection and will be unable to obtain his or her transcript, the policy goes on to say.

Underage students in the presence of alcohol but are not drinking themselves would not be penalized, said Stasolla. Previously, underage students were cited for being in the presence of alcohol, even if they were not consuming it.

“We needed to instead focus [our] effort on those who don’t drink,” she said.

The task force also created a good Samaritan policy that encourages other students “to seek help first” for any drug- or alcohol- related medical emergencies without the caller having to fear any campus repercussions.

“The message it sends to the University community is to be responsible for one another,” Stasolla said. “We’re hoping students will seek help without fear of campus repercussions.”

Six full-time professional residence-based Greek house directors were hired to run the education programs and enforce policies, she said. They will oversee the Greek house managers, who are undergraduates, in role similar to resident advisors.

The report also outlined plans to hire an additional two full-time public safety officers – one for each campus. A full-time substance abuse education and prevention coordinator will be hired early in the fall semester.

Rider will also be implementing the program AlcoholEDU, an on-line alcohol education that gives feedback about freshmen’s drinking behaviors and compared with other students nationwide.

More recommendations will be implemented throughout the year and will be annually assessed by an implementation group.

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