By Jenny Thai
The Alcohol Advisory Board plans to re-examine the Row houses’ exemption to the New Student Orientation (NSO) alcohol policy, according to Ralph Castro, director of the newly formed Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE). This review comes after alcohol transports occurred during this year’s NSO week.
According to the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) Bulletin, at least two alcohol transports occurred during the NSO period.
For the past several years during NSO, typically considered a “dry week,” Row houses received a dispensation from Residential Education’s Row Office to host parties serving alcohol, on several conditions, according to the Alcohol@Stanford website. For example, houses’ parties must be kept in house and quiet and each house is limited to a maximum of two parties for each house’s respective residents only. The policy also prohibits hard alcohol and requires that food and Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages (EANABs) be provided, according to the Alcohol@Stanford website.
The policy also requires that all in-house parties be registered by Row Residence Management staff members through myGroups@Stanford and approved by the Office of Student Activities at least three days in advance. Extra measures are taken by Row housing staff to ensure that the proposed parties do not violate University regulations.
According to Castro, the Row houses’ exemption from NSO’s strict, dry policy was introduced several years ago after a student representative from the Row petitioned to the Alcohol Advisory Board to change the NSO campus-wide alcohol ban, arguing that it was “difficult” and impractical for Row housing staff to curtail residents of drinking age who want to socialize and use alcohol during NSO.
“The Advisory Board looked at the issue and granted the Row houses an exception to the NSO policy,” Castro said.
The Alcohol Advisory Board informed new Row staff of the dispensation this September during Resident Assistant (RA) training.
“We definitely try to meet the demands as much as we can,” said Gil Shotan, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) RA. “We realize it’s a very sensitive situation. The freshmen are still new and their parents are still around. We definitely try our best to avoid causing any sort of problems for the University.”
While RAs are present during party planning sessions for the NSO in-house parties, they do not initiate or lead these events.
“As RAs, we just go through the session, to know about the process to help mediate and advise the community managers,” Shotan said. “We’re actually not allowed to register parties.”
“It used to be really, really strict,” Shotan added, referring to the years before the NSO Row house exemption. “[The Row houses] are trusted to be responsible, to handle such events, even during such a sensitive period as NSO.”
Castro emphasized the importance that Row residents adhere to the NSO regulations, cautioning that Row houses that fail to comply may lose the privilege to host in-house parties during NSO.
“You abuse it, you lose it,” Castro said. “We did have some issues last year that were isolated to certain groups, and we dealt with those groups through our existing processes.”
“The Row managers had a meeting with Zac Sargeant, where they found that there was a transport,” Shotan said. “We don’t know if it was some Stanford student, or if it even happened at a Stanford party. I also heard rumors that it might have been a non-Stanford student.”
Row student manager Zac Sargeant and Castro declined to comment on specifics.
“At this time, I can’t comment on those [incidents],” Castro said. “At some point in the next few weeks, members of the [Alcohol Advisory] Board will come together to discuss what happened during that time period, what were the circumstances and make a determination on whether or not that exemption to the policy will occur next year.”