Simpson’s party regulations promote safety but cramp students’ style


Photo: Austin Hronich/The Simpsonian

by Chad Carter, Special to The Simpsonian

The regulations for Simpson College parties this year have left some students frustrated that the college is limiting their fun, but Simpson staff say the regulations are for safety reasons.

According to senior Ian McKenzie, “College experience is a social and academic life and when you take away the social aspect, your complete college experience isn’t going to be as good.”

McKenzie added, “These rules have always been in place, but they are just now enforcing them.”

Despite some students’ disapproval of these regulations, such as the ones that limit a party size when alcohol is present or the amount of noise allowed, Simpson staff say they are necessary.

Luke Behaunek, dean of students said, “We have a maximum threshold of the number of people that can be in any housing situation where there’s alcohol present mainly to avoid risk or risky behavior.”

There are numerous kinds of risky behavior that occur at on-campus parties, so Simpson cannot specifically crack down on one. Behaunek said, “We unfortunately work a good deal with students in crises and there’s not necessarily one type of situation that fully predicts student’s behavior.”

Behaunek elaborated, “Some of the more egregious things that come to mind include a body-sized hole showing up in the wall or looking for medical emergencies arising from people drinking too much.”

Another thing that frustrates Simpson partygoers is the relatively new rule introduced within the past five years that prevents more than 12 students to be in the same apartment room when alcohol is present. This rule especially irritates McKenzie.

“The argument that when there’s alcohol present and only 12 people can be in the room and when there isn’t alcohol there isn’t a cap on how many people can be in the room,” he said.

Behaunek explained the 12-person limit was necessary in order to avoid risk.

Another way Simpson tries to prevent disorderly conduct at parties is through community advisors. The CAs are trained to go around and watch for suspicious behavior within an apartment to keep parties from getting out of hand.

Behaunek said, “Our staff are trained to confront situations in which there’s too many people or too loud of noise present or other suspicious behavior.”

Behaunek said student partygoers are usually compliant with the CAs. “In general, when students are approached with a student staff member, they understand when they are not in compliance with regulations,” he said. “They are usually cooperative in helping to resolve the situation, and for that we are thankful.”

Simpson College was a huge party school as early as the 1970’s, according a former graduate of the college. “There were two crowds in those times: the partiers and the academics,” the graduate said.

Simpson students still find time to party and when the party starts, the regulations are there to help prevent these parties from becoming something other than just a party.

There are steeper regulations for more egregious offenses by partiers. Behaunek explained there are different levels of fines for more severe violations. “A first-time alcohol violation is going to be treated differently than a distribution of drugs,” he said.