Aspects of new alcohol protocol opposed by Student Association

UMD Statesman Article
by Fatima Jawaid

Over the past few days the UMD administration’s new Alcohol Protocol has been gathering a lot of buzz across campus. This is due, in part, to a petition presented by a few members of UMD’s Student Association (SA) that opposes some aspects of the new protocol.

Now the petition, in a 13- 7 vote (an additional three who abstained from voting), has the backing of the SA after the vote took place on Monday’s SA congressional meeting.

“Now that it is passed,” said Tommy Bittner, a LSB senator of the SA, “we can bring it to them and say look-the students have spoke their concern-and now the SA has backed their concern.”

Bittner was responsible for bringing the petition to classes and tabling for support over the past three days.

The UMD administration plans on implementing the new alcohol protocol this fall. The policy, itself, is one that was developed by the Alcohol Policy Committee and includes a new resolution that would sanction students for their off-campus alcohol-related behavior, according to the SA’s Off-Campus Alcohol Policy agenda.

The petition, said Jonatan Mitchell, the freshman president of the SA who supports the petition, in 72 hours, garnered over 900 signatures from the UMD student body. Almost twice the amount, he added, of the students who voted in this year’s SA election. Also, over a dozen students, who were not members of the SA, attended the meeting to express their concern.

Some, like Thomas Deminico, the Better Neighbors director, spoke of their opposition to the petition at the meeting.

Deminico stressed that the new resolution was addressing the need of the community to recognize the problems being cause by college parties.

“Many have expressed concern over vandalism and neighborhood disturbances happening in the community,” he said at the meeting.

Also, Deminico said, the new protocol is a practice that the administration may follow on a case-by-case basis, not a policy.

What many members of the SA who support the petition, like Mitchell and Devin Welsh, are concerned with is two new practices that will be brought forth by the new protocol.

This includes UMD’s right to match the names of students on the local police reports for alcohol-related incidents and reserving the right to add additional penalties in their discretion. The second major concern is also that, regardless of age, after the second offense the university has a right to notify their parent or guardian in relation to their conduct, according to the petition presented by CLA Senator Eric Adams and Representative at Large Nick Miller.

“What we are concerned about,”Mitchell said, “is if the protocol is designed to target the 10 percent that are problem students then it should only be aimed at those 10 percent, not being implemented under the administration’s discretion.”

Now that the petition has officially received the backing of SA, Mitchell said, the next step is to pass on the student concerns to the administration. When that goes through what happens next is entirely up to the UMD administration, he said.

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