In restricting the amount of alcohol students could bring into their dorms, Penn acted capriciously and parochially. We cannot imagine any legal justification for this offensively parochial policy, and find both the process of its formulation and the method of its implementation to be sources of serious concern. Every student who lives in a University dormitory signs a housing agreement, and that agreement is very clear on the question at hand: Kegs are the only type of alcohol containers that students are prohibited from bringing into the dorms. Furthermore, while Penn reserves the right to amend the housing agreement, students were not notified of the change in policy until Saturday morning, well over 36 hours after the first alcohol-carrying students were denied entrance to the dormitories. We have said repeatedly in this space that the University must respect the right of students who are of age to consume alcohol. We would add three specific areas of concern: · Whatever the impact of previous University policies on the consumption of alcohol in public settings by students who are of age, the weekend's policies cross into uncharted territory. We are gravely concerned by the University's perception that it is acceptable to infringe on the right of students who are of age to enter their own place of residence with alcohol. · We are shocked and disturbed that Penn would implement such a policy at least one day before choosing to notify students. · We are dumbfounded that the administration would choose to formulate and enact such a policy unilaterally, without consulting the provost-appointed task force on alcohol policy. But perhaps the most troubling aspect of the weekend's capricious policy is the potentially chilling effect on the relationship between students and administrators. Penn continues to ask students to engage in a good faith dialogue on the problems associated with alcohol abuse on campus. Our concern in this matter cannot be overstated -- through its arbitrary and heavy-handed measures, the University has sent a clear message to students: We do not value your rights as individuals; we do not respect your ability to act responsibly; we do not believe you to be adults. But the reality is this: students are adults, and while administrators may find shades of gray to justify the actions of this weekend, it is they who acted as children.Comments powered by Disqus
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