The Prospector (Helena, Mont.) 1916-2015, April 06, 2005, Image 12

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ETHICS ON THE HILL 12 Should the college continue to have underage drinking cited on campus? A recent change in the college’s practice of dealing with underage drinking by students has raised the hackles of many stu­ dents. The is the practice of calling the Helena Police onto campus to cite underage drinkers. Should the college hold underage drinkers responsible by continuing to call Helena Police to issue underage drinking citation? Responsibility and drinking Consistency in all our actions by Mark Smillie Associate Professor o f Philosophy Like a scholastic philosopher would say, this question has two parts. First, whether the college should hold underage drinkers responsible. People might disagree about this, arguing that the college should only intrude where neces­ sary, and if necessary. So if a stu­ dent causes some damage to school grounds because they were drinking, they should be held responsible for the damage, but that would be true if they weren’t drinking. Drinking itself, however, should be considered a private issue, even if illegal, and none of the college’s business. However, this argument doesn’t persuade me, and it ignores the fact that the college is a communi­ ty, and as members of a communi­ ty, it matters to all of us what each of us does. So, I think the college should hold underage drinkers, nay all drinkers, responsible for their drinking, at least if it can. Should we continue to call Helena Police to cite underage drinking? Wouldn’t whatever harms underage drinkers pose for the college, also be posed by those who drink legally? If we only do this for underage drinkers, I won­ der if this is fair. Does calling the police do more harm than good? Does it alienate the students from the administra­ tion, and make those who have a problem less likely to come to those who could help them? Shouldn’t we employ the metaphor of the family, and take care of our own, in the way that each needs? I think this idea pushes the idea of “family” too hard. Carroll is a community, and so is a family, but it the Carroll community comes between a family and the larger society. There are some aspects of Carroll that are like being in a big family, but others which are not. As a faculty member of the Carroll community, I need to keep in mind both my responsibilities to my stu­ dents as a “senior” type member of this family, and my obligations, legal and otherwise, to the larger society. Sometimes that society obliges me to act in ways that I wouldn’t if it were a matter of my children. Calling the police in a situation like underage drinking I think could be justified as one of these exceptions. The Philosophy Club sponsors “Ethics on the Hill,” a regular column on ethical issues at Carroll. If you would like to suggest topics for future consid­ eration, contribute to this col­ umn, or respond to positions taken here, please write to John Gleaves care of The Prospector. by Luke Fortune Director o f Community Living Why did the college begin the practice of calling the police to report violations of alcohol laws? One word may describe it all: Vomit. Vomit in the halls, vomit in the rooms, vomit in the bathrooms. Carroll had become a safe-haven for those who chose to break the law. Three semesters ago, CAs asked the administration to do something to help alleviate the problem of these students who impacted their living and learning environments with the irresponsible use of alco­ hol. So we took a long, hard look at why, and explored how we could teach students “real world” consequences for their actions. You’ve heard it before, college is the place to learn and grow. It’s certainly true at Carroll, where that motto is emblazoned on the crest, “Non Scholae sed Vitae.” As a place of life preparation, students ought to learn the value of making responsible decisions. The mission statement includes this reality, “As value-oriented, Carroll College is committed to and deeply involved in the further dimension of free deliberation and decision making regarding values and personal commitment.” In real world situa­ tions, there are consequences, both good and bad, to the decisions people make regarding the laws of their communities, and are held responsible for those decisions. When a law is broken on cam­ pus, we as a college community must respond to protect each other and to ensure that those responsi­ ble are held accountable appropri­ ately. Not only must the rules of the college be upheld, but also the laws of our larger community. The college has a moral obligation as an entity and a citizen of Helena to respect and obey those laws. Why should the college be a safe haven for those who choose to break the law? How can the col­ lege morally shelter those who flaunt irresponsible? As a Catholic college, we have an obligation to prepare students to be responsible and productive citizens who per­ form good work in the world com­ munity. Calling our students to accountability and not sheltering them from real world conse­ quences serves that goal. When there is a crime commit­ ted on campus, including underage drinking, we call the police. Why should there be an exception for this one law? What places this law above others, other than the fact that students do not want to be held responsible for their actions? How can we as a college, an edu­ cational entity committed to the growth of her students, logically support such a position? Should cops be on campus? by Brent Koning President, Associated Students o f Carroll College One of my biggest concerns about Carroll College is the sense of community. When I was a first year student I felt that the Carroll community was supportive, caring and under­ standing. I remember initiating an intervention with someone on my floor who had a drug problem. I also remember my roommate telling me that I had drunk too much one night and that I needed to stop. We “got written up” as well. Needless to say, our community was a true community. It was edu­ cational because it was our peers showing concern for our peers. Every outcome was not always liked, but it was a process that took place so that we could learn from an unfortunate event and become a better person because of it. When police are called onto campus it hinders both our com­ munity and our educational/social development. Not to mention revoking responsibility from our Community Advisors. Having the City of Helena assign punishment instead of (or in conjunction with) a school-sanc­ tioned solution tears down the community that we live in. The trust between residents and their Community Advisors is gone because punishment is literally outsourced. We switched from Residential Assistants to Community Advisors so that we could work together as a community to help learn, grow and become stronger in a Christian environment. Without trust, you can’t work together. Community Advisors are hired to coordinate happenings on individual floors through leadership, enrichment and safety. If they are not allowed to use their own judgment, a fun­ damental in which they were hired, what is the point of having them? Our CA’s know us, they care for our future and they are the founda­ tion of residence life. They have as much to do with learning and edu­ cation as our professors. CA’s have a unique opportunity to interact with students in ways that not every young adult gets a chance to do. We should be utilizing that opportunity, not blinding it by having the judicial system “assist” our Community Advisors and Student Life in educating students. Albert Einstein said “the value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from a textbook.” Our community should be continually growing through self-responsibili­ ty, education, trust and personal relationships, not broken down by outside sources of judgment. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2005 VOLUME 88, NO. 6

The Prospector (Helena, Mont.), 06 April 2005, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.