December 4–6, 2008
The committee meeting focused on the topics of alcohol use and policies on campus; a report on the fall athletics results and student-athlete anecdotes; and current affairs on campus. This session featured presentations from dean of the College Tom Crady, director of Athletics Josie Harper and senior associate director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brian Austin, the Graduate Student Council, and the Undergraduate Student Assembly. Additionally, we had student panels on the topics of alcohol, social spaces, and athletics.
Tom Crady shared his observations from his first year at Dartmouth and reconciled them with his experience at and interactions with other institutions. He has found that Dartmouth has drinking rates and alcohol use similar to peer institutions; the current alcohol policy is confusing and not well understood; the Committee on Standards (COS) is seen as draconian; and fraternities control most of the student social spaces, with very different rules than national sororities, causing gender inequity. His recommendations to deal with these issues include (1) a revised COS policy, including that first-time alcohol offenses are treated educationally, not judicially; (2) an updated alcohol policy that lifts many restrictions and pushes more responsibility to the organizations hosting parties; and (3) removing the restriction that sororities must be associated with a national house.
Members of the student panel (Rem Browne ’09, Miesha Smith ’09, Ann Rittgers ’09, Frances Vernon ’10, Jeremy Seidling ’09) spoke about their experiences on campus and took questions from the committee. Through this discussion we found that college alcohol policy and New Hampshire alcohol law were not well understood by most undergraduates, though student leaders tend to know these rules and laws much better than the general student body. Students find their own scene on campus, and non-drinkers find social lives outside of Greek life, which does overshadow the rest of campus life. The Good Samaritan policy is widely used and students do not fear repercussions when seeking help for a student who has had too much to drink.
Josie Harper and Brian Austin spoke about campus athletics. Some important points included that 80 to 85 percent of the student body participates in athletics or outdoors programs, we have great new facilities with the Biondi baseball complex and Floren Varsity House, and there are 34 varsity and 34 club sports. Dartmouth athletics are stronger than ever, though some programs are in a building phase, such as the Dartmouth football team (0-10).
Members of the student panel (Andrew Dete ’09, football captain; Shannon Bowman ’09, women’s ice hockey captain; Kate Schmidt ’09, figure skating captain) spoke about life as a student-athlete, their interactions with their teams, and how athletics enhanced their Dartmouth experience. Andrew spoke passionately about sharing the disappointment with the 2008 football season on the field, but highlighted his strong bonds to the College and his teammates. Shannon talked about her excitement for the upcoming winter campaign and how amazing it is to share the ice with national and international stars. Kate spoke about the legacy of women’s figure skating at Dartmouth (five straight national titles!) and how that helped seal her decision to come to Hanover.
Brad Demay ’10Adv spoke as president of the Graduate Student Council (GSC), which represents 700 arts and sciences graduate students. The GSC addresses concerns of the graduate student body, including housing, social events, and transitions to the Upper Valley. The primary focus of the GSC this year is to obtain better health care for students. Specifically, the group would like to obtain dental and vision coverage, which many peer institutions provide in some form.
Molly Bode ’09, Student Assembly president, and Nafeesa Remtilla ’09, Student Assembly vice president, reported on SA, which provides services to and advocates for undergraduate students. This year SA is primarily concerned about President Wright’s announcement that the College would reduce its operating budget by $40 million. SA wants to ensure that student voices are heard in the process. To this end, SA is collaborating with Palaeopitus and class councils to gather student input on what undergraduates feel is essential to their Dartmouth experience. Two examples of services that the SA introduced this year are Bruno Books (used textbook online search engine) and Zimride (online carpooling board).