By Megan Banta
More than three-fourths of the incidents reported by security and residence life so far this school year, including the summer term, have involved alcohol.
Ellis Hall, dean of students, said while students involved in such incidents will go through the college’s judicial process and receive a sanction if their actions violated college policy, it is not the college’s goal to punish those students.
“My goal is for you to succeed, for you to graduate from Franklin College,” he said. “If you do these behaviors, this diminishes your likelihood of success.”
He said the focus of the entire process, from the original incident report to the informal adjudication or formal hearing to the sanction, is to help students “learn how to live in community and take responsibility for their actions, because they’re going to need to know how to do that” in the real world.
Hall said the college also tries to help prevent the kinds of behavior that lead students to violate college policy, especially behavior involving alcohol.
The college puts on several programs throughout the year, including daily events during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, which took place this week.
The week included a presentation by public officials on the Lifeline Law on Tuesday night and various activities during lunch on Thursday in the cafeteria.
The goal of these programs, counselor Rebecca Roberts said, is to educate students on how to “be more responsible with their choices” when it comes to drinking, especially binge drinking.
Jacob Knight, director of residence life, said binge drinking is a “very risky behavior.”
“If you are going to be consuming alcohol, don’t over consume,” he said.
Roberts also discouraged binge drinking, as it often leads to alcohol poisoning. And alcohol poisoning often leads to death, which she said “happens all the time” across the country.
“(Death by alcohol poisoning) hasn’t happened at Franklin, knock on wood,” Roberts said. “That doesn’t mean it can’t happen at Franklin.”
She said in order to avoid such a circumstance, students need to be “responsible drinkers.”
Knight said the college’s goal through programs like Alcohol Awareness Week is to educate students to be responsible and make the best decisions because while “alcohol is always going to be a factor,” it is possible to responsibly consume alcohol by pacing yourself.
He said administrators hope to enable students to “think about what they’re going to do and hopefully set themselves up for a fun night and a responsible night.”
“You don’t have to get completely smashed,” he said.
Steve Leonard, director of campus security, said it is usually those students who don’t drink responsibly and end up drawing the attention of a security officer or resident assistant who “end up being the ones held accountable for violating college policy.”
And Hall said that is the only proper response on the part of the college.
“Educationally, if we didn’t (hold them accountable), what would they be learning?” he said.
He said the college holds students accountable so they can grow and learn.
“What it’s really about it helping students to learn and grow from this experience, to be better,” he said. “And to hopefully live to the college’s mission and values.”
If students truly have a problem that is causing them to engage in behaviors that violate college policy, Hall said, the college wants to help them.
Roberts encouraged students to go to the counseling center if they feel they need help or want to seek help for a friend.
“Our doors are always open,” she said.