College to create Task Force on Alcohol and Student Life

Earlier tonight, I attended a mini-forum on alcohol and student life at Middlebury.  The meeting was a follow-up to the issues raised by the student body during the well-attended May 3, 2011 alcohol forum held in McCullough.

Eleven other students and four deans were in attendance.  The deans present were Katy Smith Abbott (Dean of Students), Shirley Collado (Dean of the College and Chief Diversity Officer), Ian Sutherland (Cook Commons), and Lisa Boudah (Associate Dean of the College and Director of Public Safety).

The primary announcement at the forum concerned the soon-to-happen creation of a Task Force on Alcohol and Student Life that will be co-chaired by Dean Katy Smith Abbott and a member of the faculty (to be determined).  There will be twelve people on the task force in total, including five student representatives and several other representatives from College faculty, Public Safety, and Custodial Services.

The task force will be charged with researching and adopting recommendations about alcohol use and student life that are to be presented to President Liebowitz in April 2012 for his consideration.

Discussion touched upon a number of topics that will be directly applicable to the task force’s deliberations in the upcoming months.  The role of Public Safety in enforcing alcohol policy, the possible disincentives that students have to comply with party regulations, and the proper methods of fostering a culture of personal responsibility were all common themes that reappeared throughout the meeting.

Deans Smith Abbott and Collado are encouraging students with thoughts about these topics or questions about the task force to talk with them in person or to reach them via email.  Their addresses are and, respectively.

(photo via flickr/sovietuk)