Congratulations to Williams, and the people who run it, for being so open in discussions of the issue of alcohol on campus. The full report is here. Below the break is the e-mail that Dean Roseman recently sent to the “Williams Community”.

[I make this point every week or so. Let me make it again now. Alumni are part of the “Williams Community.” Any all-campus staff/student e-mail should be publicly archived so that interested alumni can stay abreast of campus issues. Why must the College be so secretive that we alums need to rely on undergraduate spies to be kept informed?]

The topic of alcohol (much less drugs) is an interesting one. Perhaps the report is worth reading. But, for a process-obsessed curmudgeon like me, the most important thing is that Williams has published it conclusions and the underlying data for all to see. Openness is the sine qua non of a scholarly community. Kudos all around.

To the Williams Community:

In 2004, the Committee on Undergraduate Life spent the year considering the impact of alcohol on the Williams community. One of their recommendations was to establish a Task Force that would continue that work into the future. As a result, the Alcohol Task Force, chaired by Doug Bazuin, Director of Campus Life, and Ilunga Kalala, ’05 and Co-president of College Council, was established. To facilitate their work, the Task Force invited consultants Alan Berkowitz, Ph.D., and Brett Sokolow, J.D., to campus. Their report and recommendations established a road map for Task Force activities. This included the collection of data on drinking at Williams. The consultants and Task Force agreed that base line data were essential for the community to have an honest discussion about the difficult issue of the drinking culture at Williams. To that end, the Task Force produced a survey that was completed by a high percentage of students in the spring of 2005.

Due to the quantity of information gathered, the most efficient method to share it with the community is by Website. The address is: http://www.williams.edu/go/alcohol. You will find there the consultant’s report, the Task Force report, and the survey data. The report by the Task Force makes specific recommendations concerning College policy and procedures. I met with the Task Force to discuss each recommendation, and my decisions concerning them are also on the site.

Two survey questions allowed for open-ended responses and it is those responses that are so voluminous, and in my opinion, the most pertinent. The responses can be found under the headings: “Troubling Experiences” and “Further Comments”.

With these data we can now have an open and honest discussion about alcohol at Williams. I ask that you take the time to read the information we’ve gathered and think about whether what you read here reflects the Williams you know, or, more importantly, the Williams you want. The administration is responsible for setting and enforcing policies regarding alcohol use, but it is students who have the power to sculpt the community they live in when College employees are not present.

I will be holding an open forum soon so that we can discuss the report and
survey as a community.

The many students, faculty and staff who participated in the Alcohol Task Force devoted considerable time and effort to this work. We should all thank them for their hard work.

Sincerely,

Nancy Roseman
Dean of the College

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