Dear Yale College Students:
In the past few weeks, many of you have written to Dean Miller and me since the new regulations governing student activities went into effect. We thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and hope to continue hearing from you as we work to improve safety on campus.
To give you a better sense of what is prompting these changes, let me tell you candidly what I am seeing: alcohol and other drugs are harming Yale students, in some cases severely. Pre-gaming and binge drinking are sending students to the emergency room. Some students, under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, are making decisions about sex or personal safety that they later regret. Still others are learning too late that their actions, which they can't remember because they “blacked out,” have landed them in front of the Executive Committee. These are not unusual occurrences; they happen all too frequently, in private rooms and at parties on and off campus, and at bars and in clubs, just as they do on campuses across the country. In my role as the dean of student affairs, and as someone who cares deeply about your well-being, I am working to create new practices that help everyone make good decisions and stay safe and alive. I carry out this tremendous responsibility with the help of my colleagues on the faculty, in the dean's office, and at the Yale Police Department -- and with you -- and I consider it one of my most important collaborations.
Connecticut state law prohibits underage possession of alcohol, and in addition Yale prohibits all possession of grain alcohol, which has been implicated in accidental deaths across the country and is banned in many states. While the new policies Dean Miller and I announced uphold those rules, I hope they will do more than that, by encouraging you to think ahead when you attend or host events, making you more aware of all the social opportunities available on campus, including those that do not include drinking, and reinforcing the message that you can and should ask for help when you need it. The new policies have prompted many hosts to register their off-campus events, and we thank everyone who has complied with this new regulation. But just as important, they have started a larger discussion about alcohol and other drugs. I hope you will continue that discussion in your rooms, in the dining halls and courtyards, and at all the events you attend. I hope you will continue it with your colleagues and your families. But I also hope you will continue it with me; as we begin this year, I ask for your constructive ideas and urge you to communicate them to me by working with your student leaders. My colleagues and I are truly eager to collaborate with you.
Yale chose you to be students here in the first place because of the many talents you have found and developed within yourselves. We ask you to continue finding yourself, not losing yourself, in the extraordinary wealth of opportunities in Yale College and in the University.
W. Marichal Gentry
Senior Associate Dean of Yale College
Dean of Student Affairs
Dean of Freshman Affairs