Crackdown on alcohol funding, but not Swat social life

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The new alcohol policy does not change the rules so much as make them harder to break. “In my mind,” said SAC co-director Jenna Adelberg, “there has been no policy change other than the fact that SAC, SBC, Student Council, and the administration want to crack down on people falsifying receipts for SAC funded events.”

In order to make it harder for people to falsify receipts, the new policy includes stipulations like “All items appearing on a receipt submitted for a party must also appear on the party proposal,” a rule that should prevent items like cat food and baby formula from showing up on party receipts in the future. SBC Manager Greg Leiserson expects these rules to make his job easier, explaining that “Since the rules are much less flexible, there will be less discretion on our part and many more receipts in the trash.”

The rule that “The total value of all receipts submitted must not exceed the amount allocated by SAC plus 10%,” gives a good example of how the new system will cut down on SBC’s workload, Leiserson told the Daily Gazette. “Under the new system, if students were allocated $300 worth of funding by SAC, they may, at most, submit $330 in receipts. This rule was implemented in hopes of making it more difficult for students to submit a huge stack of fake receipts with the knowledge that some items in it somewhere will be good.”

How well will all of these new rules work? While Leiserson admits that “No system is perfect,” he thinks the new policy is a significant improvement. “Under the old system of rules our threatened punishments were not credible. There was no clearly established low- level punishment, which created reluctance on the part of the SBC office staff to apply the more significant penalties for fraud. However, I have no problem charging students a $100 fine.”

With this new crackdown in funding, will Swarthmore social life survive? “Based on the amount of proposals we got in our first meeting after the new policies were announced,” said Adelberg, “we’re not too worried!” Adelberg also encouraged students to look on the bright side: “I think we’re really lucky that we don’t have any sort of policing system as they do at the majority of schools, nor do we have to rely on using fake IDs and paying 50 or more dollars a week to go out, like our peers at many schools do.”

SAC-funded parties must be free to everyone, and so one of the much-discussed options for funding alcohol has been letting everyone into a party for free, but selling wristbands to those students who want to drink. Given that it is illegal to sell alcohol in the town of Swarthmore, this system may run into legal trouble down the line. At the moment, Adelberg says, “we are still waiting to receive word from the Administration about the legality of such a system, and whether it will be possible.”

Wristbands or no wristbands, says Adelberg, “SAC will be looking for new and exciting ways to keep the campus entertained, as we have been doing all year… we’re always open to suggestions from the student body, as well as unique proposals to help keep things interesting.”

As students adjust to the new policy, the policy will also be adjusting to the students. “Students will try to find ways around this system,” acknowledged Leiserson, “… [but] that said, the administration has ordered us to implement new rules to crack down on any potential leakage of SAC funds to alcohol this semester and we will do so.”

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