Navigating the 5C Substance Policies

The differing substance policies at the Claremont Colleges can create confusion for students attempting to navigate their way around the campuses on weekend nights. Each campus has different rules for parties on campus, spaces where alcohol can be consumed, and Resident Adviser policies. 

In addition to understanding the policies of their own school, students must also be aware of breaking policies on other schools’ campuses. “Sanctions or disciplinary matters are determined by the home campus of the respondent, so violations, if appropriate, would be referred back to the home campus,” Pomona College Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum said. 

Dean Moya Carter of Pitzer College elaborated on the cross-campus policies and disciplinary processes. “All students are always subject to the Code of Conduct from their respective campus in addition to the policies on whichever of the 5Cs they happen to be on,” Carter said. “When a student from one of our sister schools violates policy, we notify the Office of Student Affairs from the campus in which they attend to follow up. Same goes if a Pitzer student violates a policy in a different part of the consortium. If it gets brought to our attention, the Office of Student Affairs will follow up.” 

Simiilarly, Dean Bekki Lee of Scripps College said, “If brought to our attention, we would report this information to our colleagues at the student’s home institution.” 

None of the deans would comment on the differences between various colleges’ policies.

Scripps, which has a more stringent policy than the other colleges, is often assumed to be a dry campus. However, this is not the case. According to the Scripps Guide to Student Life, “Possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages by those persons 21 years of age or older is permitted in individual student rooms as long as a) the door is closed, b) there are eight or less people in the room, c) the individual serving the alcohol does not consume alcohol.” 

“We take an individualized education approach when working with Scripps students. Such incidents may result in disciplinary sanctions depending on the seriousness of the misconduct,” Lee said of those who break policies. 

Scripps also hosts events where alcohol is served if the events are approved by the Student Activities and Residential Life Office. “The person registering the event must develop and provide a satisfactory method to verify that guests who are being served alcohol are 21 years of age or over,” the student guide states. At parties like “When I Grow Up” last spring, 5C students 21 and older could get a wristband a day in advance of the event certifying their age that would allow them to be served alcohol at the event.

Pomona more regularly hosts registered parties that are allowed to serve alcohol, including the weekly Table Manners, bi-weekly TAP, and other scheduled events. “All staff servers go through a bartender training program, called ‘TIPS’ training, and are instructed to check IDs at each point of service,” Associate Dean Christopher Waugh said. 

Harvey Mudd College has a similar method for serving alcohol at parties. The HMC Student Handbook states, “At any 5-college party, the alcohol must be distributed by 21-year-old or older ‘servers,’ who are trained in the TIPS Program. Servers will be paid for their services and may not drink alcohol during the party. For all other parties, hosts must have previously attended a party-planning seminar which is administered by Social Committee Chairs.”

“Students who are 21 years of age or older and in good academic and social standing with the college may request to register and serve alcohol, exclusively beer or wine, at events on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Drew Herbert, Associate Dean of Students at Pitzer College. “Like the registrants, the students to whom the alcohol is served also need to be of age. The amount they are allowed to register and serve depends on variables including: the anticipated number of attendees who are 21-years of age or older, the length of the event, the goals/atmosphere of the event, and the location.”

One benefit of attending a registered Pitzer party is that, according to the handbook’s guidelines, hosts must serve “high quality foods” such as “veggies and dip, fruit platters, cheese and crackers, etc.,” rather than just salty snacks. 

At Claremont McKenna College, servers may be untrained students, but “individuals serving the alcohol may not consume alcohol preceding or during the event” and “hard alcohol and glass containers are not permitted,” according to the school’s handbook. CMC is also the only school in the consortium that does not ban student participation in drinking games in its handbook.

While underage drinking is banned on every campus, the focus of all the schools is on keeping students safe, and both Pomona and Scripps have developed specific policies to address that. Pomona College “operates under a ‘Good Samaritan’ policy. Each Pomona student shares responsibility for the safety and welfare of their fellow students. Failing to seek assistance for a fellow student who appears to be dangerously drunk will result in sanctions. Sanctions will not be imposed on students who seek or receive medical attention,” according to the handbook. 

At Scripps, the Amnesty Policy states that “no student seeking or receiving medical treatment from a medical professional or student or organization assisting another student in obtaining medical treatment from a medical professional, will be subject to a [judicial] proceeding … for the possession, use, or distribution of alcohol or the possession or use of an illegal drug.” 

“The health and safety of our students is of the utmost importance,” said Lee.

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