Last Friday, January 24, returning CMC students received an e-mail detailing the “Clarification of Event Guidelines,” which aims to clarify certain rules and restrictions for campus events. The message states that the Event Guidelines are the first step in “a long-term process for taking a collaborative and student-driven approach.” While the Guidelines provide the student body and the administration with a set of standard for safety evaluation, some consider the Guidelines too restrictive and arbitrary a step that may lead to disappointing results.
The duties of the Resident Assistant (RA) in monitoring student events, the factors that can lead to administration intervention, the maximum number of people an unregistered event can hold are among the delineations clarified in the Guidelines. “I am grateful that there’s a set of more detailed guidelines we can use to look at situations, and I do think that the Guidelines provide us space to negotiate when we see a situation,” said Faith Hanna ’14, Benson Hall RA. Hanna, however, mentioned that it would require the students’ co-effort of reading and following the Guidelines when registering for events to fully see its impact on CMC’s social climate.
While the Guidelines makes a progress in clarifying the rules that had either been vague or unknown to students before, many feel that the student body’s opinion is still largely unheard, or ignored. This is not the first time the issue of students’ voice being unheard been mentioned. In the Roundtable on CMC’s campus climate last year, CMC students asked for an administration “more open and honest,” as well as more freedom on campus.
ASCMC President Gavin Landgraf ’14 clarified the student body’s role in the drafting process of the Guidelines: “Maddie and I were invited to several meeting with the RAs and administrators, so we were able to give feedback to the administration as the Guidelines were being developed. Some of our recommendations were incorporated into the final version of the Guidelines and some weren’t.”
Said ASCMC Vice President Maddie Hall ’14, “There is a large difference between listening to students’ opinions and incorporating their ideas into policy.”
When talking about the new hard cap of 25 people on the number of students in an unregistered outdoor event, both Landgraf and Hall stressed their disappointment. “Our recommendation was no upper limit and instead leaving that determination to the RAs’ discretion,” commented Landgraf. “It’s easy to imagine a fifteen person event that’s very dangerous and needs to be shut down and a hundred person gathering that isn’t dangerous at all.”
“[This] takes away the self-regulatory nature that makes CMC unique and teaches students how to be adults,” Hall wrote in a statement to The Forum.
To register an event, a student would need to fill out forms on the number of people expected, food and drinks provided at the event, the quantity of alcohol, the event host and other information, along with acquiring the signature from multiple offices. “I can understand the school’s effort to protect its students,” said Kanika Vaish ’17. “However this is such a small number that it’s making it hard even for friends having fun.”
While current views on the Guidelines differ, most indicate that they would wait to decide its effect on CMC’s social climate. Currently the most urgent need, however, is not to try to direct CMC’s students events toward one uniformed direction, but to build a platform that would allow students’ opinions to not only be heard, and actually considered.