Alexa Mehraban ’13
On Feb. 1, 2012, the Trinity College Student Government Association (SGA) hosted an open forum for students to discuss, troubleshoot, and analyze the new Social Host Policy that was enacted on January 19. The forum was one of the first steps the SGA has taken to move towards creating a student committee that will work to give recommendations to the administration to revise the policy. About fifteen students attended the forum. SGA President Panida Pollwait ‘12, plans to use the comments from the discussion, the forum on January 25, and the facebook event called “What do you think about the new social policy at Trinity,” to aid the revision process. Applicants for the student committee attended one of two forums and submitted answers to questions that were sent out in a campus-wide email. The SGA formed the committee on Friday, and plans to meet with the administration this week to discuss a revised policy.
As students went over the policy in detail, they mentioned the pros and cons of each new rule. In addition, students discussed possible solutions to ameliorate some of the existing problems within our community.
In terms of the limit on the number of students who can attend parties, students seemed to agree that the numbers seem arbitrarily decided. As Pat Murphy ‘13, a Psi Upsilon brother explained, “they [fraternities] all have different square footage, they weren’t examined as to what their actual capacity is.” According to Erica Mazman ’13, “800 people have the intention of going to the frats….at least half of the population is drinking and planning to go out on a Saturday night.” That being said, students agreed that the 150 person limit does not take into consideration where the approximately 350 students will go, who are now not permitted to enter the fraternities. Students plan to have a fire marshal come in to determine the capacity limits in each of the fraternities and use this evidence to revise the existing 150-person rule.
Another important issue brought up was the increased safety risks as a result of the new social policy. Many students fear that peers will now binge drink in their rooms since they will not have the opportunity to drink in fraternities. According to Henry Eff ‘14, this is a major problem, because students generally “sober up in fraternities,” and choose to drink less because they know the option of having another beer is available to them. Students supported this hypothesis by mentioning the large number of t-certs that took place the past weekend. Preston Haxo ‘14 reported that 5 students were t-certed within the first 25 minutes of the 90’s party held in the Field House.
In order to prevent these possible dangers, students expressed their interest in venturing off campus. More specifically, students agreed that the administration should investigate bridging the gap between Trinity and the Hartford community. Rose Lichtenfels ‘14 suggested that the school rents retail space around campus, so it doesn’t look like “Trinity is one world and Hartford is another.” The students also agreed that taking steps such as these would build campus unity and increase school spirit.
In terms of the open container policy, Virgil Bisio ’12 suggested, “what if we were to say let us have our open containers on spring weekend and in exchange we will lead an initiative to go and clean up the quads.” His suggestion got full support of all the attendees, and was seconded by Eff. “This is our school lets have a great time and lets take care of it,” he said.
By the end of the meeting, the attendees concluded that they must continue to work together to make the changes they want possible. Several students emphasized that the school wide uproar is not simply an effort to fight for the “right to party,” as it has often be stated, but it is a call to change many of the existing problems at Trinity. It was clear that Lichtenfel’s words resonated throughout the discussion, “there are bigger issues that [the social policy] has brought to light.” According to Bryan Farb ‘14, “if we can cultivate a sense of unity that’s going to go a long way towards battling some of the existing social ills.”
11 students were chosen to be on the new Committee on the New Social Policy. Pollawit, Eff, Haxo, and Farb will be joined by Adam Eramo ’12, Carolyn Meighan ’14, D.J. Goldberg ’13, Gregory Leitao ’12, Hannah Kaneck ’12, Oliver Maggard ’15, and Erica Mazman ’13.