Community Council Update

By Ellie Reinhardt

The Community Council met for their first meeting of the year on Monday, Oct. 30 to discuss its role at the College and to create a list of agenda topics for the upcoming academic year.

In considering its role, the group emphasized looking at issues beyond those that are primarily student-related. Topics for discussion throughout the year included a more efficient spring term move-out, the hard alcohol policies on campus and the campus wide smoking policy.

The list of agenda topics was created through an open discussion among the council members.

The council began a discussion on the hard alcohol policies of the school. Associate Dean of Students Doug Adams began the conversation as a continuation of one that had been started last year.

“The Mill has an exception to people serving hard alcohol at their functions,” said Adams. “We realize it’s a larger conversation than for just one house and it needs to be a campus-wide conversation.”

Adams asked questions such as, “What are the impact points for hard alcohol? Where are we seeing those issues? We need to take the time to get the data and enter into that conversation.”

In agreement, Community Council Co-Chair Luke Carroll Brown ’14 declared, “That conversation needs to happen and I think it should continue in this group right here.”

The council also brought up the possible use of surveillance cameras, a topic that has been raised in previous years but never acted upon. The council agreed that as damage, theft and sexual assault become larger issues across campus, the implementation of surveillance cameras in public areas needs to be discussed.

In response to the prospect of security cameras, Blake Shapskinsky ’15 suggested that social houses hosting parties should self-police and be held accountable. As an issue that affects the entire campus, Brown noted, “It’s a large topic that I think will and should turn into a campus-wide conversation.”

The council also discussed how better to manage visitors to the college.

“We need to talk about a way of streamlining the visitors to campus process,” said public safety staff member Chris Thompson. “Last year we had a couple of instances where we had visitors and people got in trouble with alcohol and we had no idea who they were. I’d like to find a way we could better manage that so people are held responsible when they have guests on campus.”

Some other issues discussed focused on better means of communication throughout the Middlebury community. In an attempt to increase campus and town communication, the prospect of having a community forum with members of the town of Middlebury was also introduced.

Annie Pruitt ’14 described the initiative as “A place for members from the town to come and talk to students, faculty, and staff about issues they’d like to see us discuss and have that dialogue and conversation.”

The council also addressed the need for improved and increased interaction between students and staff.

Although the meeting was wide-ranging, Brown declared, “Alcohol and surveillance cameras are the two major issues that we’re going into this year with and we will end up extensively talking about and researching them.”