Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Yellow Wood Commission

News & Events

  • Yellow Wood Commission Now Accepting Applications

    Apply now to become a member of the Yellow Wood Commission. Email your completed application to Andrea Holden at holden_andrea@wheatoncollege.edu, Emily Dimon at dimon_emily@wheatoncollege.edu or deliver to the SAIL/Residential Life Office in Balfour by October 1st, 2014.

    We Invite You to Help Lead Wheaton on a New Path...
    Apply by October 1st, 2014, to become a member of the
    Yellow Wood Commission

    As charged the Yellow Wood Commission will look at the role alcohol plays at Wheaton College. This is a complex issue involving health and wellness, the social and academic environments, and the relationship of the college to the broader community. Thus, this Commission will engage in a review with multiple dimensions. As a result, the Commission will propose strategies for the Wheaton community to fundamentally change the way we live, learn, and work together. High-risk alcohol use is often a symptom of a community in need of better social opportunities, a higher degree of personal accountability, and deeper respect for ourselves and one another.

    APPLY NOW!  2014-2015 Applications

    Applications Due:  Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    Please email your completed application to:
    Andrea Holden at holden_andrea@wheatoncollege.edu or Emily Dimon at dimon_emily@wheatoncollege.edu

    or deliver to the SAIL/Residential Life Office in Balfour-Hood.

     

  • Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

    If you are at all concerned, call 911 or Public Safety at 508-286-3333.

  • Wheaton Life Watch logo Life Watch Video

    The Life Watch program combines CPR training, strategies for safe alcohol use, and tips on recognizing alcohol poisoning.


    The Life Watch program combines CPR training, strategies for safe alcohol use, and tips on recognizing alcohol poisoning. Additionally, Wheaton Life Watch strives to take the next step in promoting a safer alcohol culture by teaching students how to intervene in situations that have the potential to become dangerous. After the training, attendees will receive a Wheaton Life Watch blue wristband to wear as proof of their training and commitment to creating a more safe and responsible alcohol culture.

  • Four Loko Warning

    WARNING: The new canned drink, Four Loko, is NOT an energy drink. It’s an extremely dangerous concoction (it approximates six shots of alcohol and five cups of coffee) that has caused life-threatening side effects.

    Currently, there is a lot of media attention about the drink Four Loko and the attendant side effects characterized as “black out in a can.” This morning’s Boston Globe includes an article titled Colleges Sound Warning on Four Loko. I have included a web-link to this article below and encourage you to read it. The piece provides a good overview of why college administrators, health professionals, and even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are concerned about the potential risks of Four Loko and other similar products that contain high amounts of alcohol and caffeine. 

    The fact that a Wheaton student recently received emergency room treatment for alcohol poisoning believed related to using Four Loko, underscores the real dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine. One 23 ounce can of Four Loko contains the alcohol equivalent of four 12 ounce beers and 156 milligrams of caffeine (nearly equal to the caffeine in 3 Mountain Dews). The danger here is not just the alcohol content, but rather, the combination of high amounts of alcohol and caffeine.

    We strongly recommend that you stay away from these types of drinks and avoid mixing alcohol with other caffeine containing beverages. Here are some reasons why:

    Five reasons why mixing caffeine or energy drinks with alcohol is a really bad idea.*
    1.    Mixing caffeine and alcohol can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning. Since caffeine makes people feel “less drunk” than they really are, they tend to drink more than they should.
    2.    Mixing alcohol and caffeine can make your heart rate and blood pressure rise.
    3.    Caffeine can make you feel energetic even if you’re drunk. Why is this dangerous? Because people can be “tricked” into thinking they are alert enough to do things like drive a car, when they really aren’t.
    4.    Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, leading to dehydration (and really bad hangovers).
    5.    Adding caffeine to alcohol can make drinking alcohol all the more addictive.

    We share this information to encourage you to be smart and safe if and when you use alcohol. If you see someone using alcohol in a way that makes you concerned they could hurt themselves or someone else, please help them or call for help.

    For information on alcohol poisoning and ways to avoid alcohol risk, click on the following link:

    http://wheatoncollege.edu/yellowwood/files/2010/09/Alcohol-Poison-Signs.jpg

    Boston Globe: Colleges sound warning on Four Loko

    http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2010/11/02/college_officials_sound_warning_over_four_loko/

    *Source: AlcoholEDU

  • Wheaton Joins the Alcohol Prevention Coalition

    In the spring of 2010, Wheaton College join the Alcohol Prevention Coalition, a new nation-wide collaborative of colleges and universities committed to state-of-the-art prevention approaches, effective policies, and pioneering practices that bolster academic success and reduce alcohol-related harm. The APC is led by the national alcohol prevention organization, Outside the Classroom.

    Alcohol Prevention Research Summit

    This summer Wheaton participated in the Alcohol Prevention Coalition’s Annual Alcohol Prevention Research Summit, a two day event at Babson University convening institutions from around the country to review the latest literature and best practices aimed at reducing alcohol risk and supporting student success. Deans Jack Kuszaj, Mark Hoesley, Jim Mancall, and Craig Andrade shared rich conversations with experienced colleagues from around the country about what is and isn't working in the college alcohol challenge.

    Looking Forward…

    The Yellow Wood Commission reconvenes in September to continue reviewing campus policy, assessing the latest research, and preparing for the next open forum. Stay tuned…

    The Alcohol Prevention Coalition 2010-2011 Coalition Partners

    • American University
    • Babson College
    • Bentley University
    • Boston College
    • Bucknell University
    • California State University—Channel Islands
    • Dickinson College
    • Duke University
    • Frostburg State University
    • Gettysburg College
    • Lehigh University
    • Loyola University of Chicago
    • Marquette University
    • Miami University of Ohio
    • North Carolina State University
    • Ohio University
    • Providence College
    • Purchase College—SUNY
    • Radford University
    • Roger Williams University
    • Tarleton State University
    • Texas Tech University
    • Towson University
    • Union College
    • University of Alabama
    • University of California—Berkeley
    • University of Colorado—Boulder
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Dayton
    • University of Maryland—College Park
    • University of North Carolina—Greensboro
    • University of South Carolina—Columbia
    • University of South Florida
    • University of Southern California
    • University of Tennessee—Knoxville
    • Villanova University
    • West Virginia University
    • Wheaton College
    • William Paterson University
    • Young Harris College
  • Safe Ride Cabs

    Take a Ride on the Safe Side with SAFE RIDE CABS, a service provided in collaboration with the Checker Cab Company of Taunton. The SAFE RIDES program resumes September 23rd.

    Take a Ride on the Safe Side with SAFE RIDE CABS, a service provided in collaboration with the Checker Cab Company of Taunton. The SAFE RIDES program resumes September 23rd.

  • Open Forum

    The Yellow Wood Commission invites you to attend its first open forum on Thursday, April 22  from 3:30-5pm in the Woolley Room, Mary Lyons Hall. The goal of this forum is to gather information and begin a community dialogue. During this forum we will explore these three questions together: How do we describe the alcohol culture […]

    The Yellow Wood Commission invites you to attend its first open forum on Thursday, April 22  from 3:30-5pm in the Woolley Room, Mary Lyons Hall. The goal of this forum is to gather information and begin a community dialogue. During this forum we will explore these three questions together:
    How do we describe the alcohol culture at Wheaton?
    How do we reduce alcohol-related harm and increase student safety?
    How can the alcohol culture at Wheaton be changed?

    For your consideration, here is the data from the 2006 and 2009 National College Health Assessment.

    Although this event is an open forum for students, all are welcome to attend.  If you are unable to attend, please feel free to send your comments to yellowwood@wheatoncollege.edu.

  • Meeting of April 8, 2010

    Minutes of the April 8 meeting.

    OLD GAME ROOM

    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, Alyssa Sands ’11, Alexandra Schibanoff ’12, John Sutyak, Associate Director of Athletics

    ABSENT: Rebecca Pye, Campus Coordinator

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

    The meeting of the Yellow Wood Commission opened at 3:33pm. It was suggested that the Commission may want to focus on the areas of the Alcohol Policy violations that need change because they are unclear and work with those areas that are more substantive another time. Also to be discussed is the community discussion that will be taking place on April 22 and what we would like to see happen at that event.

    Gabe Amo will be graduating this year and a new co-chair will be needed. He asked the student members of the Commission to think about serving in that capacity. Those interested should email Gabe by Monday, April 12. There will also be a workshop at Assumption College on April 14 and those members interested in going should make arrangements as soon as possible. Bios and photos of the members of the Yellow Wood Commission should be submitted as soon as possible so they can be incorporated into the new website. Members may also want to consider new issues they want to talk about so time can be set aside to discuss them.

    The members then continued their discussion of the Alcohol Policy, Level II violations. It was noted that the format for Level II appears to be visibly problematic in its block form. Perhaps if the information was in a different format it would flow better. Also, there may be need to clarify the Social Host definition. One member's interpretation was that Social Host meant that if a violation occurred and it was your room, you would receive a Level II violation and everyone else would receive a Level I. Another definition may be that the person hosting the party was the Social Host and would be liable for behavior that happens in the room. Also asked was the capacity of a room. Some students would like to see that specified in the policy. The law regarding persons possessing, drinking and providing alcohol was then read.

    The members talked about potential sanctions for Level II violations. It was asked if there were academic sanctions and what would they be. Presently there are no academic sanctions. Students may receive sanctions that require them to write a paper or do community service. Some students view writing a paper for a sanction as busy work and having little meaning. Perhaps academic sanctions may be considered in the future, and they would be based on the incident. Concern was raised about whether or not information about alcohol violations and sanctions would appear on a student's transcript and who would have access to the students file. The file is the property of the college and not the student. Students are allowed to see the file and make notes but may not make copies. The information about alcohol violations are not on a student's transcript. There were questions about whether a student could take an appeal of an alcohol sanction to the College Hearing Board and how that process would work. Would these violations and sanctions change the student's status? If a student is placed on housing probation, does that mean they are no longer in good standing, and is it an official disciplinary action? Also of concern was whether sanctions should be “mandatory” and be spelled out or if sanctions should be “potential” sanctions. It was felt that there is a need to be consistent, and, perhaps, a letter is all that is needed for a first offense. It was suggested that having an Area Coordinator attend one of the Yellow Wood meetings to talk about consistency and choices available to ACs may be helpful. Not all incidents are the same but if certain things are mandatory that may need to be stated. It is important to understand where discretion can occur and to separate mandatory sanctions from potential sanctions and how students ascend the levels of violations. How often students have appealed alcohol violation sanctions to the College Hearing Board was asked and determined to be rare. Do students lose their leadership positions if given an alcohol violation? There appears to be only two levels of violations: Level 1 and Level II, III, and IV.

    The group discussed at length the upcoming Community Conversation to be held on April 22 and what the format should be, the length of the conversation, and how students would be made aware of the event. The Commission would like to gather information from those attending and also let them know what the Commission has been working on. They want to have the community know they are looking for their ideas and thoughts about the work they are doing. They are hoping to learn what others feel the alcohol culture is at Wheaton, what do they dislike about the alcohol culture, what they would like to change, what specific issues they want changed about the alcohol policy and violation sanctions, how dangerous drinking can be reduced, how can harm be reduced, etc.  Concern was raised that many students may not be able to attend the forum because of athletic practices or classes/labs. However, this forum is just one of several and those will be at various times to accommodate others schedules.

    Having the “story project” move forward was revisited. It was suggested that the café could be used as an area where students could record their stories by means of a microphone and video camera and then it could be included in information available to others. This could be a very powerful aid.

    It was suggested that at next week's meeting the sub-groups report on any work they have been doing (the Safe Rides group is planning to meet again with the taxi company). The members were reminded to send their bios and photo to the co-chairs as soon as possible so the information could be placed on the website before the April 22 Community Conversation.

    The meeting adjourned at 5pm.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Janith L. Hancock
    Administrative Associate
    Office of the Dean of Students

  • Meeting of April 1, 2010

    Minutes of the April 1 meeting.

    OLD GAMES ROOM

    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; Kenneth Monroe ’12, Rebecca Pye, Campus Coordinator; Alyssa Sands ’11, Alexandra Schibanoff ’12,

    ABSENT: Jim Mancall, Associate Dean of Studies for 1st and Sophomore Years; John Sutyak, Associate Director of Athletics

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

    The meeting of the Yellow Wood Commission opened at 3:33pm and opened with a review of the progress of the small groups and their initiatives.

    . Community Conversations – did not have an opportunity to meet during the past week but intend to get together to set dates and also possibly coming back to the whole table to get more direction and feedback from everyone

    . Safe Rides – met with taxi company; owner is open to making calls whenever on the weekend; 24 hours a day; willing to set up system; Checker Taxi has been more available than any other taxi and would like the business; understand the rides are relatively close by and back and forth to the campus; no long rides; would meet with them again to discuss alternate pricing so students would be clear about knowing what they will need to have in their pockets to pay for the taxi fare ahead of time

    . Recording Personal Stories – talked with web-team and they see there is potential about doing some type of video and how we link them with some non-Wheaton websites (maybe Face Book or U-Tube that just does audio) and not upload everything but just the appropriate material

    . Events with Alcohol – did not meet

    . Amnesty – have not met but there was a conversation with the SGA Alcohol Group and they are interested in gathering information; suggested that it may be helpful for the Amnesty group to connect with the Alcohol Prevention Coalition in order to supplement what they have already done.

    The group also reinforced the understanding that members may talk with others in the community about what is being worked on by the Commission.

    Conversation moved to discussing the alcohol policy. Two questions were asked: 1) Where in the regulations of the policies (rules) we have so far is it unclear for a student to interpret and 2) How can we improve the presentation. The alcohol policy was then read and reviewed, item by item, and members discussed their interpretations of each item. Ambiguities arose, and it was clear there were many different understandings of what the policy was/was not saying. Discussed at length was the definition of Common Spaces and what that meant in the various areas of the campus such as:  Lounges in suites and houses; Other common spaces in non-residence halls, Balfour-Hood Campus Center, dining halls and event spaces. Also of concern was the "Open Door" policy, what is considered a "Common Source", what is an "Open Container" and how each of the policies are enforced. Perhaps the policy could be written in a way that is more clear and web-friendly. How the policy is interpreted regarding whether a student is 21 or under 21 years old also brought concern.   The words "keep and consume" caused confusion as well as the definition of "intoxication". It was suggested that perhaps a matrix could be developed to highlight and make clearer the various "rules" of the alcohol policy. Other questions addressed were:

    . Would having conversations with Dean Williams and others and/or having them attend a    Commission meeting to discuss their views on the alcohol policy be helpful?

    . Would it be helpful to also have the law stated?

    . Is the understanding of the policy by students living in theme housing different from that of   students living in residence halls?

    . Do students understand that the Wheaton campus is public space and not private?

    Linking the policy on the website to the law, having the policy written with greater clarity, and including a FAQ section linked to each bulleted point of the policy may be helpful to students.

    The Commission went on to discuss the sanctions part of the Alcohol Policy. Sanctions other than fines may be beneficial and helpful to students and are used on occasion by some departments; however, personnel availability is needed to use this alternate sanction method. There is a judicial database that is used by Student Life to keep track of violations of the alcohol policy by students.  How long is this information kept on the database? Is it expunged on a regular basis once a student is no longer at Wheaton? Concern was raised about the different violation levels and how a student might go from Level I to Level II and if they could go directly to Level III for a first offense. It was also unclear whether a student could be subject to a higher level of disciplinary action if the violation occurred in their room. Is the level of the violation affected by the relationship the student has with the Area Coordinator? Should extenuating circumstances be allowed? Should the language be rigid or have flexibility?

    The Commission closed by agreeing to continue the work of the small groups and to have them report their progress again at the next meeting. Conversations about the Alcohol Policy and how to make it clearer will continue. Also, April 22, is the date for the forum with the community. The meeting adjourned at 5pm.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Janith Hancock
    Administrative Associate
    Office of the Dean of Students

  • Meeting of March 25, 2010

    Minutes of the March 25 meeting.

    OLD GAMES ROOM

    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:

    MARKETING/COMMUNICATION:

    . 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)

    EVENTS:

    . With or without alcohol?

    . Revise alcohol registration form

    . Spring Weekend

    RESEARCH & ASSESSMENT:

    . 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