Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Yellow Wood Commission

Campus Life

Meeting of March 25, 2010

Posted on March 25, 2010


PRESENT: Raza Amin ’12, Co-Chair Gabe Amo ‘10, SGA President; Craig Andrade, Associate Dean of Health and Wellness; Tim Barker, Professor of Physics/Astronomy; Abigail Earle ’11, Charles Furgal, Director of Public Safety; Co-Chair Andrea Holden, Assistant Director of Student Life; Jim Mancall, Associate Dean of Studies for 1st and Sophomore Years; Kenneth Monroe ’12, Rebecca Pye, Campus Coordinator; Alyssa Sands ’11, Alexandra Schibanoff ’12, John Sutyak, Associate Director of Athletics

OTHERS: Janith Hancock, Adm. Associate, Dean of Students Office

The meeting of the Yellow Wood Commission opened at 3:35pm. Background and update on the Alcohol Prevention Coalition was shared. We have partnered with the Coalition for the next four years; however, we can evaluate our relationship with them after every year to see how we are being served. We will have access to webinars as well as the latest research, workshops, and more substantive professional development. Communicating and access with like-minded colleges who are doing similar work will also be available to us. This week a staff member went to Bentley to participate in a workshop to strategize on harm reduction. Another seminar is coming up on April 15; more information to follow.

Next there was a review of short-term initiatives:


. Community conversations; Talking with a district attorney; Knowing the law

. Safety Campaign; Utilize "Fish" exercise

. Participate in National Alcohol Screen Day (not possible this year because of time constraints)

. Safe Ride (is it a short-term or long-term initiative?)

. Record personal stories from different community members (frame conversation around alcohol   to get a full view of how alcohol has affected lives; What is the culture here at Wheaton; Selected   stories could be part of the web pages)


. With or without alcohol?

. Revise alcohol registration form

. Spring Weekend


. Meet with other local colleges (doing similar work)

. Begin to research "Amnesty Policies" (a more long-term initiative)

Long Term Initiatives:

. Alcohol policy and culture

. Co-chairs working on the charge, goals, and time-line for the Commission

The group talked about meeting every week and noted that some members will not be able to meet on some dates. It was decided to continue with the weekly meetings and understand that there may be some members missing on some dates. Perhaps in the fall, the group will have to define how many members must be present in order to conduct business.

The need to prioritize was raised because the end of the semester is very close. The group may want to make a choice of initiatives (short term) to work on so they can share with the community information about what the group has been working on and toward. The Safe Ride program would be one such initiative by seeking out local cab companies and making their phone numbers available, along with their hours, to students. Amnesty policies were discussed as another possibility. Community conversations were suggested so that the Commission could learn what others are thinking about the topics and what topics are important to students. It was asked if there are "hot bottom" topics around the Alcohol Policy—perhaps concerning sanctions—that are important to students. Some issues appear more "long-term," but members felt the Commission should begin as long as there aren't strong reasons not to so the community would know of the work being done. It is important the campus community is behind the actions of the Commission. A couple of different forums may be the way to begin.

The addition of a new Associate Dean of Student Affairs/Director of Residential Life and how will he/she may be impacted by the Commission was discussed.

It was decided to develop sub-groups to work on various priorities. They are:

Amnesty — Ken Monroe, Jim Mancall, Raza Amin, Alyssa Sands

Safe Rides — Craig Andrade, Gabe Amo

Community Conversations — Rebecca Pye, Alexandra Schibanoff, John Sutyak

Events — Andrea Holden, Rebecca Pye, Abbe Erle

Stories — Craig Andrade, Rebecca Pye

The group may also want to look at working on topics through the summer so they can be rolled out in the early fall when students return.

The group addressed Spring Weekend—the message is not different; however, students think it has changed. Students are expected to:

. think about safety

. be respectful

. take care of others

. ask for help if it is needed

. know their risks; accept their responsibility

. know the laws

Email messages about the weekend could be sent to the community and the Commission could recommend where those messages are sent. Similar messages may also be sent at the beginning of the year, or at the beginning of each semester, so the messaging becomes part of the culture.

The article by Vivian B. Fadden (An Evaluation of College Online Alcohol-Policy Information) was discussed.

The group felt it would be important to review our existing alcohol policies to determine what is unclear so that changes can be made. Questions asked were: Is there overlap between the Honor Code and Community Standards? Do people think the alcohol policy is accessible? Can people find what they need to know? Where is the confusion? Do students only look at the policy if they need to because of an incident? Is it necessary to explain Level I, II, and III? Is "Common Source" understood? How are sanctions determined? Is more clarity needed with sanctions? Are there different interpretations of the policy by ACs and RAs? How do Community Standards come into play?

Is there a possibility of establishing an alternative to fines for violations and what that would mean to the students as well as the person overseeing the alternative? Are fines effective, what are the consequences, and when are parents notified?

The Web Team has been contacted and will be moving forward with putting up a basic web page and there may be a sub-committee established to help move this project forward.

The meeting adjourned at 5pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Janith Hancock
Administrative Associate
Office of the Dean of Students

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