No week of a student’s life is more socially excruciating than the first week of college.
The new liberties associated with living on one’s own, combined with the pressure to find friends within the first few weeks of college, can lead to understandable lapses in judgment, especially when it comes to underage consumption of alcohol.
While school policies should discourage these activities, long-term punitive action against students for early violations is unfair and overly demanding. With last May’s amendments to the Code of Student Conduct, the university has addressed this concern.
The changes in the policy, expected to be announced campus-wide soon, address the documentation of the first noise or alcohol violations for first-year students. Instead of recording the first violation on a student’s disciplinary record — which is available to potential employers — the first violation will now be recorded only on internal records.
While some might condemn this policy as one that absolves freshmen of responsibility in a way that will encourage underage drinking, this change makes the policy fairer but not necessarily more lenient.
Freshmen will still be held responsible for completing sanctions, and first-time drinking violations will be taken into account for determining the consequences of second- and third-time violations. However, the significant portion of this policy amendment will rightly absolve students from explaining freshman-year shenanigans to their future employers.
It is an important part of one’s college career to learn to act responsibly. This amendment to the Code of Student Conduct makes punishments fairer and more understanding of the pressures of freshman year.