Following a new policy designed to combat underage drinking, students are now required to register off-campus parties attended by more than 50 people with the Yale College Dean’s Office.
The rule, which was announced in an Aug. 10 campus-wide email, is intended to bring off-campus parties in line with established on-campus party registration guidelines and increase student safety, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an email to the News. Four student leaders interviewed said they will likely comply with the new regulations, though they plan to wait and see how administrators will enforce the rule.
“It will just be a way for us to have more knowledge about what’s going on,” said John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, “and with more knowledge we can watch what’s going on more closely.”
Meeske said students will need to register parties under the name of a “host,” who assumes legal responsibility for the attendees. The online registration form, which Meeske sent in a Wednesday email to all undergraduates, requires the host to acknowledge Yale’s alcohol policies and Connecticut state laws regarding alcohol.
If an alcohol-related incident occurs at a registered party, Meeske said, the host would “very possibly” be subject to an Executive Committee hearing, adding that the policy was passed “largely” to address underage drinking.
“There are many, many incidents during the year where students get dangerously drunk,” Meeske said, “and we’re trying to take some steps to reduce that.”
The host will submit an online form to the Dean’s Office, he added, and the Dean’s Office will then pass the party information to the Yale Police Department so it can observe the area. Rather than stationing an officer outside of each party, Meeske said, the police will be watching certain areas and intervene “if they observe something getting out of hand,… especially if a party is not registered for that day.”
Daniel Tay ’14, president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said his fraternity has not yet planned to hold any Camp Yale parties but would “probably” register one if they did.
“I don’t necessarily think that they’re telling us to register so that they know where to [break up],” he said, “but we do have to be careful about giving up that sort of information because you can only do so much in a fraternity house to manage risk.”
Bobby Dresser ’14, pitch of the Baker’s Dozen a capella group, said he has “trouble” seeing how administrators can regulate off-campus parties to make them safer without shutting them down. He added that because most his group’s larger parties occur later in the semester, he will get a chance to “see how [the rule] shapes up.”
Russell Holmes ’13, president of the Sigma Nu fraternity, said he thinks the policy will have “no material affect on the dangers of alcohol,” but rather disproportionately restrict fraternity activities.
Because the rush implementation committee that met last spring had argued it was unfair that the prohibition of fall rush only affected Greek organizations, Meeske said the new off-campus party policy requires all off-campus parties with over 50 attendees to register, not just ones thrown by fraternities. He added that if fraternities are disproportionately affected by the policy, “in a sense we wanted that, we wanted anybody who is hosting these large affairs to be affected.”
Though some fraternities have an established system of directly alerting the Yale Police Department when they are planning to host a party, Meeske said that system was voluntary, and administrators wanted a mandatory rule in place.
Meeske said the new policies will be finalized in print in the 2012-’13 Undergraduate Regulations.