Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Policies

Academics

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes private vs. common space?

Private spaces are student bedrooms with a closed door in all college residence halls. Common areas in all houses are considered private spaces except for White House, 26/28 Taunton, and Lindens (these houses are exceptions because of the presence of Resident Advisors).

Everywhere else is considered common space unless an event has been registered for alcohol. Common spaces include student bedrooms with an open door, the exterior walkways, parking areas and grounds of the college, building entries, lobbies, balconies, bathrooms, hallways, kitchens, lounges, living rooms, porches, stairways, study rooms, laundry rooms; and any other areas accessible to all members of the Wheaton community.

What is the logic behind not allowing drinking games with or without alcohol?

Drinking games are prohibited at Wheaton College because the college recognizes the innate danger that the games create. This danger has been corroborated by numerous studies (Borsari, 2004). Furthermore, drinking games with water are prohibited because the college recognizes that water may serve as a proxy for alcohol in these games, and allowing such games makes it difficult for college staff to enforce the drinking game ban.

Do students with similar alcohol incidents receive similar responses?

Wheaton College values the individual student. As such, the conduct system considers each case individually using a similar process recognizing that there are a myriad of factors influencing every situation. Furthermore, the conduct system values education, and to reflect this, each student will receive a response that the judicial officers deem the best way to allow the student to learn from the situation.

What happens if I get more than one alcohol incident?

If a student gets more than one alcohol incident, Wheaton College views that as a concern the student may be struggling with issues larger than the incident in question. Typically, the meeting with the student will be spent trying to understand why there was a repeat violation. Furthermore, the repeat incident raises the concern of Wheaton staff and consequently may be met with greater responses ultimately trying to get the student on the best and safest path to complete their college career at Wheaton.

What am I not suppose to do?

An easy way to interpret the alcohol policy is those under 21 years of age are not to possess or consume alcohol, and those over 21 years of age are not to possess or consume alcohol outside of private spaces unless otherwise designated, nor should they provide those under 21 years of age with alcohol. Furthermore, drinking games and problematic behavior is prohibited.

In what situations can I consume alcohol in a public space?

There are few times when this is allowed. Students may only consume alcohol in public spaces when there is event-registered alcohol being served. For example, some events in the Balfour Atrium serve alcohol. In these cases, only students who are 21 or older may consume alcohol, and they may only consume the alcohol that is provided at the event.

What is a common source?

A common source of alcohol is considered to be the equivalent of more than one 30-pack (30 12-ounce bottles or cans) of beer or malt liquor, more than 1.5 liters of wine, more than 750ml of liquor (commonly referred to as “a 5th”), or any combination of alcoholic beverages with a total amount that exceeds the maximum allowed quantities listed above. Kegs and boxed wine are also considered common sources.

Can you be in a room where alcohol is being consumed when you’re not 21 years of age or older?

A student living in a room where both residents are under 21 years of age may not have any alcohol present in their room. This means that those people 21 years of age or older may not have alcohol in a room where both residents are under 21 years of age. If this happens, the residents of the room will be held accountable.

If both residents or one of the residents of a room are 21 years of age or older, a person under 21 years of age may be in the room when alcohol is present. However, it is strongly encouraged for the person or persons under 21 years of age to consider not putting themselves in dangerous or ambiguous situations so as to avoid any confusion about possession of alcohol or situations that may lead to bad choices.

How does the alcohol policy work for theme houses?

All Wheaton College Alcohol Policies still apply. However, in theme houses, the entire space is considered a private space. Any gatherings with twice the amount of residents of the house or more must be registered with the Office of Residential Life. For more information, contact Residential Life at 508-286-8214.

I was drinking and my name was taken down. What happens now?

The process and approximate timeline is outlined below: [click for a larger version]

Alcohol: process and approximate timeline

How is behavior deemed problematic?

Wheaton College is committed to learning and, as such, expects all members of the campus community to behave in a manner conducive to that end. Any behavior that jeopardizes the ability of other students to achieve educational and personal goals, the safety of the individual, or the safety of the college community adversely affects the experience of students and the mission of the college, and is thus deemed problematic.

What is the appeals process?

While Area Coordinators hear each case individually and take care to be as fair as possible to each student going through the conduct system, sometimes students feel as if they were treated unfairly. If this happens, the student may contact the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life, Kate McCaffrey at 508-286-8214 to appeal the decision.

How does the alcohol policy reflect off-campus events?

Wheaton College is committed to the idea of a community. As such, the college recognizes that behavior that happens off campus affects the larger community as a whole. Therefore, students who are in violation of Wheaton’s policies or state and local laws off campus will be held accountable on campus.

What is the policy concerning guests, does the host take responsibility for their guest’s drinking behavior?

All Wheaton students are responsible for their guests regardless of their affiliation with Wheaton. It is important to make sure that guests are acting in accordance with Wheaton’s policies and values for the betterment of the community.

I want to register a party, how can I do that?

For more information about registering parties in theme houses, please contact The Office of Residential Life at 508-286-8214.

Events with alcohol can also be registered in non-residence hall spaces on campus. For more information, please contact the Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership Office at 508-286-8222

Can you store alcohol in a common fridge?

No, you may not keep alcohol in common refrigerators in residence halls. In these situations, underage students have unrestricted access to the alcohol which could result in the student inadvertently supplying underage students with alcohol thus being in violation of college policies.

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