Clinton apartments go completely dry

by Robert Lyons/Special to The Simpsonian

 In an attempt to curb rising rates of vandalism and suppress party culture at Simpson College, the Clinton apartment complex has been designated as an alcohol-free zone until Thanksgiving break.

The policy change, which came into effect over fall break, was implemented in response to recent incidents of vandalism in the apartment complex. Most notably, a body-sized hole in the wall proved to be the watershed moment in Residence Life’s policies concerning the Clinton apartments.

“Due to the size of the vandalism, the Residence Life staff felt like it needed to change its policy in order for the vandalism to stop and change the culture of the building as a whole,” said Bryant McWilliams, the community advisor for Clinton-West. “You have to start somewhere and this is about the best place you could really start for it.”

Prior to the new alcohol policy, residents of Clinton had been issued several warnings concerning vandalism in the halls and the general party atmosphere that pervaded the building. On Oct. 22nd, students were notified by email that non-Clinton residents’ ability to enter the apartments with their student IDs would be removed even during normal access hours.

“It effectively killed the party vibe and I thought that was a very good step,” said Andrew Zepeda, a senior living in Clinton. “I thought it was probably a good step that was enough to stop the partying and the punching and the holes in the walls and the beer and all the stuff on the floor.”

Unfortunately while some decrease in vandalism and partying was seen, it still continued forcing Residence Life to deal with the apartment complex’s issues by implementing the alcohol ban. However, Luke Behaunek, the Dean of Students and Interim Director of Residence Life, felt that problems with the Clinton apartment complex were a longstanding concern over the last few years that had not been properly addressed.

“The Clinton apartments have developed a reputation as a place where parties were relatively routine and students would make their way to the apartments in hopes of finding something interesting,” said Behaunek. “Due to the ongoing issues we’ve had and lack of response in trying to improve the environment in the building, we decided that a more drastic intervention was needed to change the culture of the building.”

The alcohol ban is to remain in place until Thanksgiving break, but if more incidents of vandalism or violations of the new alcohol policy are to occur, the ban may be extended or made permanent. If nothing occurs, the ban will be repealed and the old alcohol policy for Clinton will be re-established.

Behaunek emphasized that the new policy isn’t necessarily a punitive measure as it is an attempt to change student attitude.

“I think the main reason for our policy is to create an atmosphere within our student body that shows respect towards each other and campus property especially,” said Behaunek. “While it is unfortunate that it has come to this point, I think the step was needed to help the broader community have a conversation about what responsible behavior in that community can look like.”

Zepeda, as a resident of the complex, is noncommittal in regards to whether the new alcohol policy will change the party atmosphere in Clinton by fall break.

“I hope there will be a change of attitude in my community but will it ultimately stop? You never know until it happens. There could be a big hole in the wall right after Thanksgiving break or there could be a hole before Thanksgiving break,” said Zepeda. “You just don’t know how other people will act.”