|Wilner moderates discussion among 5-C president less than twenty-four hours after alleged criminal assault. (Photo credit: The Student Life.)|
Michael A. Wilner CMC '11 recently moderated a talk with the presidents of the Claremont Colleges. (You can watch the video here.)
There was an exchange which begins at 13:51 in which Wilner states that the colleges don't share a single substance policy. "Each president will defend the college's policy."
Naturally, he called out President Bettison-Varga for Scripps College having one of the "strictest" policies vis a vis social life. In a back-and-forth, Wilner accused Scripps students of being a "financial burden" on the other colleges. (As an aside, I'm sure some CMC men would contend that this supposed "financial burden" is well worth the cost, for obvious reasons...while some CMC women would, for equally obvious reasons, have presumably the opposite view. I note also that there's no mention of the "financial burden" that )
President Gann described the social life at CMC like a bell-shaped curve.
"We just went through a thorough review of our alcohol policies. We looked at the enforcement of them, and also education, we also looked at non-alcohol policies at events and so on.We have a really, really good report that the Board adopted and I know there's been a lot of time spent by our Vice President for student affairs I feel from the president's office and from the vice president's office ... we're in a very good position at Claremont McKenna College. I do think that one of the inevitable roles of college is socialization of students to appropriate uses of alcohol. We also had a discussion... about the age limitations because its very difficult to do what I just said: to help students grow up with a socialization about alcohol and then have the 21-year-old age for purposes of drinking in this country. I support what we are trying to do at Claremont McKenna College and all of that was just refreshed with a campus wide committee last June."[Emphasis added]Just a thought: If you are going to be in favor of our libertine drinking policy, don't you kind of owe it to your confederates to be well, not in violation of it? To not get arrested for drunken disorderly conduct? And how does President Gann respond to criticism of her decision not to suspend Wilner for a trip to the Middle East after he allegedly assaulted someone whilst he was under the influence of alcohol? Surely that is against the "socialization of students to the appropriate uses of alcohol"?
Keep in mind that the girl who was allegedly criminally assaulted filed a report with the police and with the Dean of Students office 24 hours prior to this entire event. Did Gann not know about it? It seems not from her response to Wilner's question. If not, why not? Shouldn't the president know when criminal assault charges are filed against a student, especially one for whom she has interceded, in the past?
It's all very frustrating.
For what it's worth, I'm not sure how I feel about CMC's policy. I see arguments on both sides, but would tend to come down on the side that the college's alcohol policy is a bit too permissive. In my ideal world, I would throw the book at those who can't handle alcohol, but leave pretty much everyone else alone. I'd likely do the same thing with recreational users of other drugs, though I understand that the college can't because the law is pretty airtight on that question.
I confess, incidentally, that I'm on the moderate teetotaler side of Gann's bell curve distribution. I moved off campus in part because I was upset with being billed for dorm damages induced by alocholic-fueled folks and the dissatisfaction I felt with how the college was handling it -- and I lived in the substance free dorm. In fairness, I also wanted to live off of campus because I wanted a taste of responsibility before I graduated, but you get the point.