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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Student leaders may join alcohol policy critics

Student government leaders might vote today to formally join many University of Wisconsin students in opposition of a hotly contested alcohol policy recently introduced by university administrators affecting all registered campus organizations.

During its weekly meeting tonight, the Associated Students of Madison Student Council will discuss an advisory proposal to express their frustration with the itemized policy to limit alcohol consumption sponsored by student organizations.

"It's a project many students have expressed interest in," ASM Student Council Chair Dylan Rath said. "I think it's exciting that we have such active campus groups to team up with."


Rath said the Student Council would address the policy as a whole and not look at specific aspects listed in the draft proposed by the UW Student Organization Office.

As it currently stands, the policy prohibits "common containers of beer" such as kegs at events, as well as prohibits using alcohol as an incentive for participating in recruitment events or as prizes.

Some students have criticized the current draft as being a blanket policy against all alcohol consumption by student organization members and have called the language vague.

The proposed alcohol policy's aim is in line with ASM's goals for campus safety, Rath said, but he added it could be reworked to not specifically target student groups.

"With ASM's safety plan, we see the plan's good intentions," Rath said. "But the draft could be improved to protect student safety without being so restrictive to student organizations."

SOO initially drafted the policy in response to campus safety concerns for UW-sponsored events where alcohol is served. Administrators have pointed out that UW is the only Big Ten school to not have a risk management policy regarding alcohol.

According to ASM Student Council representative Steve Lawrence, who drafted the resolution to be presented tonight, the draft proposal violates students' rights and is "extraordinarily vague" in its language.

Lawrence said he was upset when the draft surfaced with little input from UW students.

"I was absolutely outraged they came out with the plan without getting students involved," Lawrence said. "It's important to get it out there and say it's not OK to put in these rules without contacting student groups."

The response prompted a press conference hosted by the Wisconsin Union Directorate last week where Interim Associate Dean of Students Elton Crim pledged to "start from scratch" if it is was necessary by forming a small committee of students.

Lawrence said the administration's response to student outcry was prompt, but he added such a response could have been avoided altogether.

"I think it's great that the university was very responsive," Lawrence said. "But had they not gone ahead in the first place without student input, there wouldn't have been such an outrage about it."

Crim said students were originally involved in the process when UW held several presentations to organizations like WUD and gave students the opportunity to voice their concerns.

Lawrence added all students are welcome to speak at the open forum portion at the beginning of tonight's meeting.

With the policy's alleged shortcomings now exposed, Rath said students should attend the meeting to point out specific issues.

"Now that students have heard the exact policy, I think it's really important to voice what they disagree with," Rath said. "There is a definite chance to change the final policy."

If ASM passes the advisory resolution, Rath said it would voice the collective opinion from the students overall.

"If the student government officials won't endorse the policy that's representative of the general student body and how they feel, it violates their student rights," Rath said.

Lawrence also cited a concern about the policy's clash with established rules for fraternity and sorority members.

"The Greek system is very nervous because the policy's rules are significantly less strict," Lawrence said. "So it would only weaken the rules already (in place)."

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