Amnesty policy could pose problem
The Thresher is concerned by the administration's decision to amend the amnesty policy to exclude people who provide underage students with hard alcohol from protection (see story, p. 1).
As we have stated in our April 19, 2013 editorial ("Alcohol policy cuts both ways"), the Thresher supports the decision to ban underage consumption and possession of hard alcohol. We agree that hard alcohol poses a significant threat to the safety of Rice students. The ideas behind the new alcohol policy, if followed appropriately, are in the best interest of our student body.
However, the Thresher is apprehensive about whether the adjustments to the amnesty policy are in students' best interest and is concerned by using the amnesty policy to enforce the new alcohol policy. While the alcohol policy discourages students from engaging in dangerous behavior, the Thresher is concerned that the amnesty policy as amended will discourage the safe behavior of calling Emergency Medical Services because of the possible disciplinary consequences. Although the change to the amnesty policy does reflect the hard alcohol ban in the new alcohol policy, the Thresher worries that students, especially while intoxicated, could perceive this change as a relevant factor in deciding whether or not to call EMS, potentially endangering student health.
The Thresher previously raised the concern that the new alcohol policy could lead students to consume alcohol behind closed doors more often. The Thresher is now concerned that the updated amnesty policy could further this potential behavior; students may be dishonest about their alcohol consumption or distrusting of other students in an attempt to avoid the possible consequences of not being covered by the amnesty policy. The Thresher worries this type of behavior will act in direct contrast to the culture of care.
The Thresher also encourages better communication between the administration and the student body. Many students believed that the changes to the policy announced during spring semester were the actual policy, while the content presented last spring was actually just a presentation of the general concepts that were to be included in the policy. While the officially changed and full alcohol policy was released simultaneously with the changed amnesty policy, many students believed that the amnesty policy had been changed at a date later than the alcohol policy.
As a result, many students felt that the administration was attempting to act secretly during the summer. In the future, the Thresher believes that a more formal and clear announcement of any changes affecting student life could greatly aid the entire campus in avoiding misunderstanding.
Furthermore, although the Thresher understands the administration has a responsibility to protect the safety and reputation of the university as a whole, the Thresher hopes the administration will consider student opinion more when making decisions that impact student life in the future.
Most importantly, the Thresher encourages students to prove us wrong and act responsibly. If any student is in need of emergency medical assistance, the Thresher cannot stress how important it is that another student call EMS without hesitation regardless of any potential consequences. The cost of not calling could be much greater than any consequences that could result because of the changes in the amnesty policy.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the
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