Freshmen Lifestyle Middlebury

Midd Announces New Alcohol Policy

Middlebury students are a lot like The Beastie Boys. Not because it’s a campus full of punk rockers (in Nantucket reds), but mostly because they know they gotta fight for their right to party.

In 2012, after a palpable rise in strictness regarding parties, Middlebury created the Task Force on Alcohol and Social Life. The group was a conglomerate of students, administrators and public safety officers, all trying to find a way to compromise between a college kid’s need to rage face and the campus adult’s goal to keep the campus safe. Out of these 2 year talks, Middlebury finally released their new alcohol policy to the student body.

In many ways, this is a big win for Midd kids. Under the new system, it’s much easier for students to register parties. Before, parties had to be registered with the college by Thursday at 3 p.m. How many college kids know what they want to do on Saturday night on Thursday afternoon? Very few.  So the new alcohol and party policy has extended that deadline until Friday at noon. Not perfect, but better.

Party length has also been increased to 5 hours, and may be scheduled to go until 3am, an hour later than the previous policy allowed. And, best of all, The Grille (Middlebury’s on campus restaurant) will provide party hosts with party packs filled with snacks and non alcoholic beverages to serve at their parties.

The administration, it seems, is trying to compromise with students and allow them their fun while still adhering to the strict Vermont state liquor laws. The obvious hitch is that the overwhelming majority of on-campus parties aren’t registered–who wants to go through bureaucratic hassle you can expect to not get busted the majority of the times you throw down? The goal of the new system is to encourage students to register their parties by making the process and regulations less difficult to adhere to. Will this work? Only time will tell, but it’s likely that if you didn’t register parties before you won’t start now.

And while most of the policy seems to be in the student body’s best interest, things seem a little foreboding for the Middlebury party scene regarding the issue of hard alcohol. In an all-school email delineating the new alcohol and social gathering policies, Dean of Students Shirley Collado wrote, “Our goal is therefore to deter the use of hard alcohol and to respond to its use in ways that swiftly disrupt unsafe consumptaion patters before they are deeply established.” It was not clearly stated what measures they will take to do so. However in another email, a survey, students were asked if they thought Middlebury should ban hard alcohol – yes or no.

Is this the future of the Middlebury social scene? No shots, no mixed drinks – nothing but beer,  wine, and André? Given the administration’s latest push, it’s a fear many students have right now.  Everyone understands that the administration of any school wants to keep its students safe, but a complete ban of hard alcohol seems a bit aggressive. For the time being Midd kids will likely keep fighting for their party rights in the hope they can come to some kind of compromise with the administration that promotes a safer attitude toward hard alcohol, but still allows its presence on campus. Is it the College’s responsibility to protect freshmen from ripping one too many shots? Legally, yes, but figuring out how to not get as bombed as you did that one night is a pretty standard learning experience that students have had, and should have, the opportunity to go through.

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