Benjamin Franklin said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." He might have been right. Or he might have been full of…well, let's just say it.
You will hear a lot about alcohol and alcohol policy at Colby and some of it will be true and some of it will be full of it. The policies regarding alcohol at Colby are detailed in the Student Handbook at:
It would be a good idea for you to look them over for yourself rather than relying exclusively on what others tell you. We don't want or expect you to memorize the handbook. There isn't going to be a quiz. Just check it out. Get a sense of what the policies are and where you can find them if and when you have questions about them. As with most things, more often than not important points get lost in the translation when things get paraphrased and repeated casually.
With respect to drinking (and by "drinking" I mean drinking alcohol) try to remember just three things: Be smart. Be Safe. And be respectful.
- The drinking age in Maine (and every other state) is 21. Of course, that doesn't mean that nobody under 21 drinks alcohol on campus. It just means that those who do are breaking the law (and Colby policy). That's a choice you get to make. Let's face it, people choose to break laws all the time. Lots of people drive over the speed limit. And it they get caught, they get a ticket and pay a fine. So if you're under 21 and you choose to drink alcohol and you get caught, then own up and accept the consequences.
- Private possession and/or consumption of hard alcohol is prohibited at Colby. If you choose to drink, it's smarter to drink beer or wine.
- If your instinct is telling you not to go to the off campus party your roommate is trying to convince you to attend, then trust it and don't go.
- If you are approached by Campus Security, give them your real ID (they will always ask to see it), be courteous, and do what they ask. You can always come and speak to one of the deans or the director of Campus Security the next day if you have concerns about an interaction with a security officer or another member of the Colby staff. Getting into an argument with a security officer at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning after you and/or your friends have been drinking is never a good idea.
- Set limits and keep track of how much you drink.
- Take care of yourself, look out for your friends, and have your friends look out for you.
- If you're going to drink, make sure you eat and also drink water.
- If you are going to be drinking off campus always have a designated driver (who is not drinking at all) or call a taxi.
- Never drink alcoholic punches or other mixed drinks from a common container because you cannot certain of exactly what kind, and how much alcohol is in it.
- If someone has had too much to drink and is sick (vomiting, uncommunicative, passed out, etc.) always call campus security or a CA for help. Never assume someone will just be okay. It really is a matter of life and death!
- Remember that Campus Security is available 24 hours a day and can provide safe escorts across campus for you and/or for friends.
- When in doubt, ask for help.
- Respect yourself. You don't have to drink to fit in at Colby.If you do choose to drink, only drink in ways with which you are comfortable.
- Intervene if you see someone being pressured to do something unsafe or that s/he does not want to do.
- Understand that you live in a community and that the things you do impact others.
- If your neighbor from down the hall knocks on your door and asks you and the 12 other people in your room to quiet down, then quiet down.
- If you hosted a party that disturbed your neighbors and created a mess in your residence hall, apologize to your neighbors and clean up the mess.
- If you break or damage something, take responsibility and pay for it.
- If you know that a friend or acquaintance broke or damaged something, tell him/her to take responsibility and pay for it; or turn them in.
The choices you will have to make about drinking and parties and such are in some ways difficult and complicated, but in other ways pretty straight forward. For the most part, the more you are able to keep the questions simple, the better off you'll be. Above all we want you to be safe. So, like just about everything else, if you are troubled by or not sure about something, ask your dean or your CA or your advisor.
Ben Franklin also said, "Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late." If you can be smart, safe, and respectful when it comes to drinking at Colby you may find at least one particularly important morsel of wisdom at just the right time.
Dean of Students
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