The Transcript has an overview article on coming changes at the health center.

Starting next fall, Williams College students seeking after-hours medical attention won’t have the health center to turn to. Williamstown Medical Associates, which is available to the health center staff at night in the form of telephone consultation, is no longer willing to do so because of “liability issues.”

Williams students learned of the change in a campus-wide e-mail, obtained by the Transcript, sent by Dean Nancy Roseman to students Monday night.

“In fact, liability issues have caused many college health centers to close or limit the services they provide,” the e-mail states.

The College really ought to post these all campus e-mails somewhere so that all we interested alums could keep better track of campus events.

Roseman wisely notes the potential of adverse effects anytime the College makes problematic activity safer and easier.

“The only question in my mind is are we somehow, even subtly, giving students permission to drink dangerously by providing 24-hour service at the health center,” Roseman said.

In the e-mail, Roseman said the medical associates decision could be better for Williams students in the long-run.

“In the early discussions of the matter, some people have asked how this change might affect students who choose to drink themselves into an unhealthy state. In the short run, they will end up even more quickly at the hospital, where they should be. In the longer run, college policies concerning alcohol are to be examined this spring by the Committee on Undergraduate Life and others. Our hope is to engage the entire community in a dialog about this issue. We intend to approach the problem globally and with significant input from current and former students,” Roseman stated.

Perhaps “Drink Globally, Puke Locally” will be the campaign slogan.


A spike in alcohol-related treatment visits to the Williams Health Center raised administrative awareness of binge-drinking among what he described as a “small number of students,” College Spokesman James Kolesar said last week. Also, the college announced it is considering banning hard alcohol at Williams College in order to curb excessive drinking on-campus.

Color me skeptical, but I would suspect that the amount of serious drinking isn’t much different today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Why would it be? Moreover, even if there is, perhaps it just reflects a decrease in drug use on campus. Is the typical 20 year more interested in altering his reality today than he would have been in the past?

It is certainly plausible that more students are seeking treatment at the health center, but that’s probably a good thing! Better passed out there than in the Carter House common room.

Banning hard liquor would be the single stupidest policy decision that the College has made in a long time.

Williams Health Services Director Ruth Harrison told the Record as many as nine students could seek treatment for drunkenness on a given weekend. But on average she estimated three students from Thursday to Saturday are admitted nightly for drunkenness.

Three students! That’s what this fuss is about? Maybe the past seems more Bacchus than it was, but I certainly recall that more than 3 students needed “treatment” — guidance to a worshipful position before the Porcelain God — on a typical Saturday in the Greylock Quad alone.

But maybe I just ran with the wrong crowd . . .

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