@Scripps Opinion

Scripps’ New Alcohol Policy Is Unclear and Unproductive

Aviva V. Maxon ’24
Staff Writer

The rollout of the new Alcohol and Drug Policy in the Scripps Guide to Student Life came as a bit of a surprise. The first students to learn about it were the early arrivals, who came back to campus for job training and planning to ensure the Scripps community could thrive this year. Many, myself included, were surprised by the announcement which was sent out to students days before the semester started.

The policy states that no hard alcohol is permitted on campus, even for those aged 21 and over. Beer and wine are still permitted for those of legal age. There are two main concerns with this policy change: a lack of clarity on what is actually being restricted, and an incongruity with the policies of the other four campuses.

Scripps’s policy is by far the most restrictive of the five alcohol policies. Both Harvey Mudd College and Claremont McKenna College will serve alcohol at school-sponsored parties and events; Pomona also allows alcohol at school and club-sponsored parties and events. Pitzer does not expressly allow alcohol at its parties and events but does not actively restrict students in consumption.

The policy’s wording does not clarify if what is banned is chosen based on the percentage of alcohol in the drink or by type of alcohol, so it is unclear if drinks such as premixed drinks or hard seltzers are permitted. This author asked multiple people on the ResLife team for clarification and all I was told was that no hard alcohol is permitted.

I never expected Scripps to put out an alcohol policy allowing free consumption on campus (for those of age), but I also did not expect a more stringent policy to be put in place. For many, drinking is part of the college experience and social life. Does drinking need to be the center of those? No, but it can be important for many.

The new policy gets to a deeper issue at Scripps: the policing and enforcement of our gatherings and events on campus. SAS-hosted parties are the most restricted of any of the college-thrown parties on campus (see the 2023 Halloween Party). Students are supposed to register for birthday parties and any event with more than 10 people through the Office of Student Engagement (OSE). The Dean on Call regularly shuts down Scripps parties well before quiet hours. As Scrippies, we are held to a different standard than our counterparts at the other 4Cs.

Try as I might, I cannot come up with a reason for this other than upholding the image of a docile woman. At this institution that vocalizes female empowerment and brings women to the table, they still expect us to be quiet and stay in our place. There is nothing wrong with some students playing music and dancing. In fact, it is good for us. I know that some of my most important memories with friends involve parties, big and small.

We are at Scripps for an education, which happens in and out of the classroom. The social scene is just as important to our time at Scripps as our academics, so why is Scripps limiting our ability to fully participate?

Scripps also spews harm reduction during New Student Programs and Orientation and then enforces policies that actively go against that. While the goal is no underage drinking, everyone knows that is unrealistic. Yet safe, informed consumption is possible.

Scripps should move to a policy like the other colleges. Instead of being unclear and restrictive, Scripps’s guidelines should be clear and easy to understand. Students should be able to make informed decisions and know how to be safe when they choose to partake. As a community, we have the power to change our culture around parties and alcohol. By coming together and talking about what we want from the social culture at Scripps, and then enacting that culture, we will create the Scripps we all want.

Ultimately, everyone wants us to be safe and cared for at Scripps. We need to create a culture of care that ensures our safety while also allowing for exploration and fun. Showing the college that we can be responsible for ourselves and each other will only benefit us and prove their outdated ideas of how people at a Historically Women’s College should behave.

Image Source: Francesco Ciccolella