A new opportunity for student input on College alcohol policy

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Following a host of public meetings during the fall semester, Harvard College is offering undergraduates another chance to help define the College alcohol policy’s underlying principles. Working with the Office of Student Life (OSL), the committee charged by Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds with revising the College alcohol policy will open an online focus group to solicit student opinions.

“Our primary focus is on supporting a transformative social experience for our students that allows them to develop meaningful relationships with each other and to do so in ways that ensures the health and safety of the members of our community,” said the committee’s chair, Cabot House Master Rakesh Khurana.  “We want the new policy to be informed by the student experience.”

After being asked by Hammonds to chair the committee at the beginning of the fall semester, Khurana and other committee members launched a series of open, town hall-style meetings across campus.  Attended by more than 70 students, proctors and tutors, the meetings were the first step in the committee’s efforts to seek feedback.  The new online site will provide interested parties another chance to he heard.

“The most important thing for students to understand when we unveil a finalized alcohol policy is that we have engaged in a very thorough effort to solicit and incorporate student input,” Hammonds said.  “While we have set out the goals – student health and safety – and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has decided some of the parameters for the legal drinking age – we want student voices to really influence the direction of the alcohol policy within those broad criteria.  That’s the only way we will be successful.  I think Rakesh and Dean of Student Life Suzy Nelson have done a terrific job of designing a process that will get us to that objective.”