Student Government Representatives Aware of Students’ Diverging Opinions; Welcome More Input

Student government representatives, particularly Cluster Council members, have been discussing the issue of a new breathalyzer policy with Deans. The idea of a breathalyzer sparked much discussion amongst students. Though some student government representatives favor the policy, others have voiced concerns during Cluster Council meetings and Dean’s Table Meetings. Students are concerned about the usage of the testing, their privacy, abuse of power by the faculty, and the role of the testing in the discipline process. Because Andover’s discipline system is organized by cluster, the cluster government has been involved in developing the breathalyzer and drug testing policy. Pine Knoll President Claire Voegele ’07 said, “The breathalyzer has been the exciting topic of the year for cluster council; lots of time, Dean Councils, and All-Cluster Meetings were set aside for it. Ideally the new policy should be a useful tool for the students, allowing them to prove their innocence. It might allow change in enforcement of the ‘in the presence of’ rules.” The system would put the Cluster Deans, Isham, and Dean of Students and Residential Life Marlys Edwards in charge of the breathalyzers. Voegle said she believes “the system should be something controlled by Isham and students.” Student government representatives have heard students voice diverse opinions. In an and are also wary of being required to sign a statement that binds them to be open for testing by a breathalyzer in order to attend Andover. Other students are less worried, and feel that as long as the administration is reasonable and listens to the concerns of the students that the policy should not be an issue. Student Body President Danny Silk ’07 thinks that “students aren’t necessarily excited about it, but they understand the reasoning behind it.” Upper Representative and Presidential hopeful Zack Dixon ’08 thinks that the breathalyzer issue is part of a larger debate on campus: the role of trust. “I think that the institution of Breathalyzers is ridiculous. Students should have the right to privacy, and this is a violation of student-faculty trust. Trust is the foundation of this school, and breaking that trust only hurts the environment.” Representatives of student government are aware of students’ concerns. Two main issues taken with the breathalyzer policy are the possibility of random drug testing and presence of a breathalyzer at campus events. However, the new policy would confine the breathalyzer to Isham, and faculty would need to have reasonable evidence to bring an incident to the attention of a Cluster Dean who would regulate which cases would require a breathalyzer test. The policy is not set in stone yet, and adjustments may still be made. Student representatives of school-wide and Cluster governments will continue to push for the desires of the students. It is in the hands of the student government to communicate the views of the students to Deans at Cluster Council and the Deans and Presidents Table. According to Ms. Edwards, students have thus far been more involved than faculty in the breathalyzer discussion. Ms. Edwards also noted that it’s difficult to create a method outside the structure of student government for debating an issue likes this. Of those surveyed by the Phillipian, 100 more students felt insufficiently involved than those who felt involved enough in the decision of whether to implement a breathalyzer. Among those students, some believed that the decision is not for the students to make, and should be in the hands of the administration. All students concerned with the breathalyzer issue are encouraged to get their voices heard by speaking with a student government representative or Cluster Dean.