Discussing Pomona’s Alcohol Policy

This year has marked increased attention to the college alcohol policy. We feel that the college’s alcohol policy deserves some serious discussion and consideration at this time. As it stands, the college’s policy remains vague, relatively inconsistent, and clearly ineffective.

We argue that the policy as it stands now is broken. It cannot be enforced consistently and is not enforced in such a way as to incentivize good behavior and deter bad behavior.

First is the college’s consideration of “unregistered parties.” Little known and well concealed within the student handbook, is the fact that any “event” which serves alcohol must be registered with the college. Among the list of sanctionable violations of the college alcohol policy is “unregistered parties.” This essentially means that the college is at liberty to sanction any gathering of students that serves alcohol, regardless of the nature of that gathering. The unregistered party policy equates a large dance party illegally held on a Lawry balcony to a gathering of 15 friends in a Clark V room.Similar to the policy on unregistered parties is the policy on noise complaints. Noise complaints often derive from an RA’s perception of the noise level rather than a call made by another student. Its not that RAs don’t have their right to piece and quiet as well, its just that knocking on a door and entering a room under the pretense of excessive noise, so that RAs can then write up alcohol violations, is pretty inconsistent.

On top of this inconsistency, RAs can selectively pursue infractions that they consider to be larger violations, regardless of the actual impact those infractions have on the community.

Regardless of what the violation is, it seems that the real issues are never confronted. Vandalism of bathrooms, not to mention the puke left there after a rowdy weekend, is left to the poor housekeeping staff on Monday morning. Disruptive and disorderly behavior often goes unnoticed unless it coincides with a passing RA, and students who like to sit around and have a few beers are just as likely to suffer punishment as those who would like to drink obscene quantities of alcohol and spend the rest of the evening disrupting others’.

The college’s policy needs to focus more on the implications our actions have on our community, not simply the law, and certainly not what those outside or out of touch with our community think should be happening.

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