The number of student violations so far this year is significantly higher compared to the number at this time last year. As of Nov. 17 there have been a total of 17 alcohol violations, 10 of which occurring on campus and seven of which involving police arrests. In addition, there have been five violations related to illegal drugs. By Nov, 17, 2009, there were nine alcohol violations, no arrests and no drug-related violations.
According to Bill Born, vice president of student life, there have been no changes in GC's disciplinary policy or approaches by student life to more strictly enforce the rules.
The only change this year has been that the Goshen Police Department now patrols the College Cabin and Witmer Woods for campus safety reasons, said Born. This potentially eliminated one more off campus location for students who choose to consume alcohol, said Born, forcing them to do so on campus at the risk of getting a violation.
According to Born, there have also been more off campus arrests this year than last, increasing the total number of violations. Goshen College did not make any formal requests to the police department to keep a closer watch on college students, he said.
"It's an age-old reality that the independence of a student in the college years is a very natural and real process," said Born. "It is also important for students to learn the philosophical understanding of being part of a larger community, which is often counter-intuitive to the desire for independence. Alcohol use is definitive on this balance."
For student life, it is about finding the balance between recognizing students' growing independence and want for more rights, and the institutional values of the greater good, keeping in mind safety, emotional health, violence and vandalism.
"Obviously the legality of things is an issue when it comes to students drinking underage, and that's a reality and part of civic order" said Born. "But it's also deeper than that; safety is a real thing that matters more so than our individual rights. It's painful to see students get hurt when they have their whole lives in front of them."
Born said that oftentimes the violations result from issues on a personal level that run much deeper than the public conversation which only goes as deep as two perspectives: individual rights versus policy. He hopes that the open communication and interpersonal conversations that result from the student disciplinary policy can help to build campus community rather than create divisions.