Communication with Public Safety: a new house theme

Without a doubt, all students experience the effects on alcohol on campus, regardless of whether they drink or not. We all know the different types of weekenders: the hot mess, the silent drunk, the faker, the lightweight, etc. But what most of us do not know are the school’s policies regarding alcohol.

It’s easy to find your ex’s number while you’re drunk, but for some reason the number for Safety Always Matters Most (SAMM) is a little more difficult to find. Statistics show that four out of five college students drink. Considering there are about 1,600 students at Wheaton, about 1,280 students on this campus imbibe.

The 320 students who do not drink are surrounded by the effects of alcohol. Some may choose to stay in while others decide to go out sober. On Sunday mornings, the effects of drinking can usually be found in disheveled bathrooms, trash-laced hallways and empty red solo cups enmeshed in the snow.

This year, Public Safety (PS) has become more prominent in the party scene. Erin Wolf ’15, vice president of Emerson Feminist Perspective House, commented that “themed houses have a huge responsibility to set the precedent for the rest of the campus on how they should be behaving simply because we have privileges that they do not.” Themed houses are set apart from Wheaton’s other housing options in that they must be active and influential on campus.

Wolf said that “more of a mutual understanding between PS and themed houses on what the houses’ responsibilities are on campus would create a higher level of respect towards houses and their events. By extension, they [PS] will potentially respect the students more and the choices they make because our main goal is to make the campus a more inclusive environment.”

As Wolf noted, it appears that a lack of communication between the themed houses and PS is a growing problem on campus. Houses are required to register parties with Residential Life, which in turn presents the information to PS.

The line is slightly blurred, however, at when and whether PS has the right to enter a house. Wolf said that “PS should not enter without a cause.” It seems only appropriate for PS to enter when they have received a report, complaint or simply found it to be obvious from the outside.

Themed houses do in fact experience more independence in their living style. Therefore, responsibility and availability to the campus is crucial in their duration and impact on campus.