The Undergraduate Assembly will suspend its regular parliamentary procedure this coming Sunday in order to vote on a resolution supporting changes to Penn’s alcohol policy.
Sunday night will mark the last regular meeting of the current UA body, as elections for new student government positions end on Friday. Traditionally, no new business is discussed at this final meeting, Engineering and Wharton senior and UA President Tyler Ernst said.
However, Ernst said that, given the upcoming UA turnover, it is only natural to vote on a resolution while the current body is still intact.
“It makes sense when you have the committee all still on campus and all still together to have it finished,” he said. “That way we are not imposing anything on the incoming UA body.” Ernst announced the date of the alcohol policy consideration at Sunday’s general body meeting.
The UA’s resolution will be an endorsement of a series of recommendations that will be made by Penn’s Alcohol Policy Review Committee, which consists of UA representatives, University administrators and other student leaders.
The recommendations made by the committee must be voted on by the UA in an “all or nothing” manner, Ernst said. The body will only be able to vote in favor of or against the resolution.
UA members, however, will be permitted to propose amendments to a separate series of enactments, which will suggest further actions that the UA may take to help implement a new policy.
“We do want to make sure the committee is speaking independent of the UA but that we are acting in sync with them,” Ernst said. “We also wanted to provide a voice outside of the committee just because not everything was getting captured.”
The review committee finished a draft of recommended revisions to the University’s alcohol policy in December, Ernst said. Since then, the committee members have been meeting with other University stakeholders to solicit feedback. Ernst added that this feedback was received a few weeks ago.
The committee began reviewing the alcohol policy in August 2011. It was initially scheduled to release its recommendations in November 2011.
The UA initially began partnering with the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives in August — as well as the other student groups on the committee — to review the current policy because many feel it is too “expensive, restrictive or otherwise too burdensome” to have alcohol at registered social events, Ernst wrote in the UA’s 2011 annual report.
The revised alcohol policy proposal — which is around 8,000 words long — will detail a review of changes made to the policy over time, the committee’s mentality and goals in wanting to make amendments to the current policy, implementation clauses and metrics for measuring success, Ernst said.
“As a member of the UA executive board, I am very proud of the work that the UA executive board has done,” said College junior and UA Treasurer Jake Shuster, who is one of two UA presidential candidates. “It is crucial that the UA worked on this project this year because it is a top student priority for all students regardless of whether they drink or not.”
Ernst believes the work on the University’s alcohol policy is far from finished.
“This is an issue we take very seriously — we do want to make sure we are checking in on the success, the process and the general opinion of the campus pretty much indefinitely,” he said.
College sophomore and Civic and Philadelphia Engagement Committee Director Dan Bernick, who is also running for president, agreed.
“Even if the UA passes the resolution on Sunday, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of implementation and follow-up,” he said.
Ernst hopes that the resolution will be well received.
“If we’ve done our job correctly — getting buy in from administrators and creating a well-crafted and responsible policy — students should see these policy changes implemented as soon as possible,” he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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