Earlier this week, a contingent of this and next year’s Mill leadership headed to the Community Council meeting to discuss one tangential facet of the ongoing debate on party registration on campus. The issue on the table: whether or not hard alcohol should be allowed at registered parties.
Although the immediate reason for the Mill’s defensive response might not be so clear, suffice it to say: PURPLE JESUS. Whatever connection you have to this tri-annual event, you know that it draws a pretty large and diverse crowd of purple-clad partygoers, ready to sip on that quintessential purple drank.
Alas, in a strange and somewhat misguided move on behalf of the Residential Life Committee, it was recommended that the pilot program, which “provisionally” banned hard alcohol at all registered functions with the exclusive exception of Mill parties, be terminated. The principal justification for the review of the pilot program was that the Mill should not be given an exception; instead, hard alcohol should be banned at all social house registered events.
Perhaps it is true that social houses should be regulated in a way that is fair and equal. However, the proposed change ignores the particularities of each social house. First, the Mill is close to town and out of respect for neighbors should probably end their parties earlier than the Ridgeline houses. Second, hard alcohol is an integral part of the punch, which is an integral part of a fun and solidarity-building tradition. The only thing “unequal” about a policy that bans hard alcohol from parties is that it deprives social houses of their individual character. Tavern likes having beer, the Mill likes having punch. As long as they’re both serving drinks under controlled (public-safety-omnipresent) conditions, does it really matter what those Solo cups contain?
More important, why are our administrative committees focusing on hard alcohol as the culprit for the issues they have identified within the party scene? Perhaps those highly contentious topics of dorm damage and sexual assault should be viewed not as inevitable acts exacerbated by student practices (like getting more rapidly and recklessly wasted than in years past) or perpetrated by certain groups of individuals (see article on “Bro culture”), but by structural issues which manifest in entitlement, misogyny and a general lack of respect for people who are different from us.
Fortunately, although it has yet to be signed into effect by President Liebowitz, the Community Council voted (14 in favor, 2 opposed, 3 abstentions) for the Mill to be able to continue as an official exception to the no-hard-alcohol-at-registered-parties rule. This is good news for now, but the debate surrounding registered parties rages on, continually posing the questions: to what extent should we as students be the ones regulating our own social environment? And to what extent should “best practices” be written into policy? Write in with your comments below.