The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

I write both as a member of the student body and as someone who has been a part of the development of non-alcoholic events on campus through my involvement with the Tangible Change Committee. In addition to its overall purpose of fostering collaboration of student leaders to achieve "tangible change" on Penn's campus, President Rodin charged the Tangible Change Committee with an even greater responsibility this year -- the development of non-alcoholic campus-wide events. Thus, throughout this year those of us on the Tangible Change Committee have worked hard to foster cooperation between student groups in order to develop events on campus supplementing the already existing social atmosphere at Penn with alcohol-free options. Our work had been quite successful this year as student group collaboration and participation in non-alcoholic community events was on the rise. LoveFest, WinterFest and Homecoming were but a few of the success stories. President Rodin was quick to associate herself with these successes in her recent public relations letter to the campus and community. Yet she was quick to forget her association with our committee and other student committees when announcing her supposed solution to the "alcohol problem" on campus. While Tangible Change maintained an open mind and worked with the administration throughout the year, how quickly we have witnessed President Rodin's mind close to the voice of the students. I find the lack of involvement of students in the recent policy decisions unacceptable. Student leaders offer a necessary insight into the student body's views and reactions to changes made on campus and for this reason help to bring success to initiatives on campus. The administration should not be burning bridges with students but rather should be working to strengthen those bridges. If it is the behavior of students that the administration is concerned with, then it is students they should be working with. Due to a lack of communication with the student body, the administration's recent policy has begun to, and will continue to, bring great harm to the University in many ways. Rather than encouraging students to work with them to achieve the goals that we all desire -- an environment in which we can all enjoy collegiate life safely -- the brash move of the administration has caused a spirit of rebelliousness and resentment among students. These attitudes will now impede cooperation of the general student body with any of the proactive educational projects and non-alcoholic alternatives that had been gaining success on campus. Certainly, alcohol abuse is present to some degree on campus and a more intensive effort to enforce the rules and regulations which had already been in place on campus is required. However, the instantaneous overhaul of Penn's alcohol policies has, as the Daily Pennsylvanian editorial board pointed out on Monday, severely compromised the well-being of the student body ("The lessons of a weekend," DP, 3/29/99). The administration claims they are looking out for the safety of students, when in reality they are gravely jeopardizing it. When Tangible Change accepted the administration's challenge to implement non-alcoholic programming on campus, it did so gladly, in the hopes that it could supplement the existing social atmosphere at Penn with non-alcoholic alternatives. I know that we never intended to obliterate the existing traditions which already hold a special place in the hearts of Penn students and alumni. Penn has been known in a positive context, not a negative one, for its safe and exciting social atmosphere. The administration, in an attempt to "look good" has instead made Penn "look bad," dismantling many of the traditions that have held a place in Penn's calendar for years, and placing a negative connotation upon a reputation which has always carried a positive one. Is this really the impression the administration chooses to leave on the thousands of prospective students who will be visiting our beloved campus during the next couple weeks of Penn Previews? The administration needs to seriously re-examine its recent policy and the far-reaching implications it carries with it. More importantly, I urge President Rodin, Provost Barchi and the administration to not simply allow students to voice their opinions at a task force meeting but to actually listen to what the task force has to say and seriously work with the task force to develop policy. Only by working with students will any initiative the administration passes help to strengthen our community and make it a safer one, rather than break down our community and make it a riskier one.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.