We write to share news of a recent action that will, we anticipate, have important implications for every member of our community.
Following recommendations made by the members of Colby's senior administrative staff, the Board of Trustees has adopted this resolution:
"Resolved: That the College shall terminate the 'Champagne Steps' celebration and take any and all measures to eliminate the excessive drinking that has come to characterize the way in which Colby seniors celebrate the end of their four years of study at the College. Further, the board charges the administration of the College to address comprehensively the broader issue of excessive drinking as a feature of Colby student life."
"Champagne Steps," which began as an opportunity for students and faculty to toast one another with a glass of champagne, has over the years degenerated into a day-long occasion for members of the graduating class to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and to flout community norms. This year's event was marked by enough transports to nearly overwhelm the MaineGeneral emergency room. It also saw extensive damage to the Alfond Apartments, among other Colby facilities. Many faculty now routinely cancel classes and depart campus on the last day of classes, wanting no part of an annual ritual that sours and devalues their accomplishments and those of the graduating class.
These behaviors do not reflect our values as a community or the level of excellence to which we collectively—students, faculty, trustees, administrators, and staff—aspire. Therefore, we are calling on all constituencies in the Colby community to help us re-imagine social life on Mayflower Hill in the absence of alcohol abuse, and I am establishing two working groups to tackle specific aspects of Colby's culture as it relates to the use of alcohol.
The first group, to consist of student, faculty, and administrative representatives, will recommend appropriate and effective measures to eliminate the "Champagne Steps" event and any similar event that might be mounted to observe the end of the semester. These measures—as well as the resolution and the work of the group—will be publicized frequently and broadly, such that no Colby constituency can miss the message that "Champagne Steps" is over.
The second, and larger, group will consist of students, trustees, administrators, parents, and faculty and will be chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Terhune. It will propose the means by which the College can address the more systemic abuse of alcohol in student social life at the College and how Colby students, trustees, faculty, and staff can assist the College administration in addressing the issue of excessive drinking at Colby.
This effort is of critical importance to Colby and to all who live and work here. We look forward to working with all of you toward its full success.
William D. Adams, President
Joseph F. Boulos '68, Chair of the Board of Trustees