Residential students received an email about recent violations of GC’s dry campus rules from Residence Director Emily Hahn on Sept. 10. The email primarily focused on student’s alcohol consumption and stated that alcohol use “on campus and/or while underage is a violation of our community standards.” The message encouraged students to review the standards and think about the impact and consequences of their actions. 

  According to Hahn, the motivation behind the email was twofold. It was partially due to increased reports of alcohol consumption on campus. 

“There were a lot of conversations,” she said, “a lot of people talking about alcohol in general.” 

Hahn could not provide specifics on any incidents that occurred. However, she hoped the email would allow students to reflect on their choices heading into the rest of the semester.  

The email was also meant to be “proactive and preventative.” With three new resident directors and the start of a new semester, Hahn stated she wanted to be straightforward with students and that she would “much rather try to prevent issues than catch people.” The email was intended to inform and remind residents of the community standards. 

However, the message has not been received that way by all students on campus. Sophomore biology and secondary education major Simon Hertzler Gascho said that “The email made alcohol consumption feel very taboo and like something that needs to be extremely hidden.” 

While he acknowledged that it is important to have clear communication and boundaries regarding campus rules, he is concerned that “problems someone has related to alcohol will be very difficult to address because of the taboo atmosphere surrounding it.” 

In addition to this, Goshen College’s campus community standards regarding alcohol subtly shifted this semester. During the academic year 2020-2021, the standards listed “public intoxication” as a category two violation. 

This year, that language was redacted and replaced in the community standards with “returning to campus while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs” in its place.

However, enforcement will remain in line with a protocol shift that Gilberto Perez Jr., dean of student life, introduced three years ago. In an interview with the Record in 2018, Perez stated that conversations with students who return to campus intoxicated should focus on the well-being of the student rather than punitive action. 

Hahn presented a similar standard for enforcement. She referenced a saying from another Residence Director, Kevin Schultz, to describe how they will interpret the regulation. 

Hahn said that the guideline is “Behavior that gets you in trouble sober will get you in trouble intoxicated.” She further specified that this wiggle-room primarily applies to students that are 21 and consuming alcohol legally off-campus. 

Students that are underage and return to campus intoxicated may still face consequences. However, according to Hahn, the community standards are not meant to punish students but, meant to help “students grow into the best version of themselves.”

Enforcing the community standards related to alcohol may get more complicated in the future. The class of 2024 will be the first class required to live on-campus for all four years. Currently, a certain amount of credits allows students the opportunity to house off-campus. It is unclear how this will affect both on-campus and off-campus drinking. However, it will ensure that students who are 21 years of age and choose to legally drink off-campus will have to contend with potential consequences.