Update – Alcohol banned in Harrington Hall

Alcohol is banned in Harrington Hall for at least the rest of the semester. (Megan Aiken/AQ)

Harrington Hall has gone dry.

Today marks the second day of an alcohol ban at the residence after several incidents this past semester grabbed the attention of dean of students Larry Batt.

Students aren’t allowed to use or possess open or unopen alcohol in Harrington for the remainder of first semester. The ban will be reviewed in second semester.

“This decision relates to what’s been going on in Harrington Hall this semester and how we felt it was necessary to respond to it,” Batt said.

“Drinking was recognized as a contributing factor in exacerbating other conduct issues. Based on that, I declared this alcohol prohibition.”

Discharged fire extinguishers, paper towel being set on fire and broken glass throughout the residence are among the problems Harrington has faced.

A fight during Harrington’s first house party of the year also netted the house some negative attention from residence life.

Residents found out about the ban in a Sunday afternoon meeting at the Ted Daigle Auditorium.

The meeting, which Batt estimated 100 students attended, was compulsory. Another will be held today for students who couldn’t make the first meeting.

First-year student Jeremy Rasch left during the question and answer period of the meeting. He doesn’t think an alcohol ban will solve any of Harrington’s problems.

“I think a better approach would have been if they just would have taken out guests for a while because they’re the people that are mainly doing the damage to the house,” he said, adding that he hopes the ban doesn’t last long.

“During the meeting, they talked about all the negatives and none of the positives. That kind of made us look really bad.”

Third-year student Michael VanTassell, who lived in Harrington for his first two years, said the ban could do more harm than good.

“When you put these kinds of arbitrary restrictions on people, it will put them under a kind of pressure to make them want to act out more.

“Usually [with] these kinds of things, it’s the actions of a few small individuals with poor judgment.”

A better solution would be to spend more time educating people in all residences about drinking in moderation, he said.

Most students contacted about the alcohol ban refused to speak to The Aquinian. One student who thought the ban was fair wouldn’t give his name, saying he would be the most hated resident in Harrington.

Harrington’s recent woes were highlighted in a report by Nancy O’Shea, director of student life and retention.

Bill MacLean, director of facilities management, said the recent problems raise questions about issues of health and safety.

“We’re aware that we need to have extinguishers available at all times. We’re moving into a different situation than somebody partying and having one drink too many,” Batt said.

Enforcing the ban, which Batt admitted could be difficult, would fall under the responsibility of residence life staff.

Residence manager Kelly Hogg said the ban will be enforced like any other residence rule, meaning students could face fines or other sanctions if they’re caught with alcohol.

But she couldn’t specifically say how residence life staff would know if students had alcohol in their possession.

Hogg has been working at STU for the last five years. Before that, she was a student at STU living in Vanier Hall.

During her time at the university, Hogg can’t remember another outright alcohol ban.

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