New changes to Elon University’s Honor Code restructure the punishments for undergraduates cited for alcohol consumption. 

In the past, underage students caught consuming alcohol would face community service hours, potential impacts on leadership roles and study abroad opportunities and a short online program. 

Under the new policy, students cited for underage consumption for the first time will have to complete a longer education program, but won’t have to participate in community service and won’t be charged with a code of conduct violation for seeking treatment for excessive alcohol consumption.

“We want to remove any message that service is a ‘punishment,’ Assistant Dean of Students Whitney Gregory told Elon News Network of the decision to remove community service as a punishment for underage drinking. “[We want to] avoid situations where the student or hosting organization has a negative experiences associated with the required service.” 

Gregory also called the decision to not charge any student with a code of conduct violation for seeking medical assistance a way to “encourage students to seek help for themselves or for a friend.” 

Before this year, the only students exempt from punishment were students who sought medical assistance on behalf of someone else, called the ‘Innocent Bystander policy,’ but it was not extended to the person in need of treatment. 

Opinions on the policy change vary across campus. Senior Rohit Naidu praised the new policy as a better consequence for students.

“I think that providing more informational sessions over community service is a more beneficial punishment for a few reasons,” he said. “These sessions actually teach you about the causes of alcohol whereas just doing manual labor does not at all.”

Naidu added revising any sanctions against study abroad opportunities is a smart decision for a school that is trying to become “more global.”

But not every student favors the new policy. Senior Ryan Pelosi said keeping any component of online educational training would be “useless.”

“People do that without much effort and try to skip through as much as possible.”

He added cutting the mandatory community service requirement was a the right move for the school to take.

“I believe giving back to your community through service is very important,” he said. “However, it shouldn’t be forced for people to do. I think the punishment should be a choice of either an in-person class or the ability to do community service.” 

Despite disagreement among students about the new policy, Gregory said the changes were a result of thorough research from students and faculty over the summer to ensure the best scenario for everyone.

“Our goal in any code of conduct review is to ensure our policies and processes are aligned with our honor code, reflect our shared university values and expectations and seek to protect the safety and well-being of all students,” she said

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