discount ralph lauren polo Alma College changes policies after student death
Sean Murawske, a freshman from Harbor Beach, went missing in the early hours of Jan. 12, 2014, after he left a party at a fraternity house wearing a polo shirt and khakis, but no coat. He was found dead, partially submerged in a pond in a field off of Charles Avenue in Alma two days later. His cause of death was hypothermia and was ruled accidental; his blood alcohol level was .115.
After the tragedy, the private college did two things: Hire the Grand Rapids law firm of Warner, Norcross and Judd to conduct an external investigation, and form a safety task force of faculty, staff and students.
There were at least two other incidents in the winter of 2014.
On Jan. for a disturbance in the street involving at least 20 people, according to Morning Sun reports at the time. St. Louis Police, the Gratiot County Sheriff Department and Michigan State Police also were called. Fifteen people were cited for being minors in possession and one person was arrested for resisting and obstructing.
On Feb. 8, 2014, a passerby reported that a man and a woman were lying on the railroad tracks on State Street and were trying to help one another up without success. Police said the two people, who were both Alma College students at the time and were both over 21, had had a deal to drink and were taken to MidMichigan Medical Center Gratiot in Alma.
The Alma Police investigation into Murawske disappearance and death showed a night of partying by many students, both before and after the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity party.
Those who saw him did not think he was excessively drunk or that he was in any danger. No one was sure when he left the party. It is believed he was walking back to his residence hall and got lost.
Alma police officers also talked to a student who told them about an incident two years earlier when he attended a fraternity party while drunk and the next thing he knew, he was in a cornfield about six miles away. He told police he ran back to campus and had no idea how he got to the cornfield in the first place, but he suspected someone had driven him.
It was the death of a student that led to the policy review.
looked at our alcohol policy, said Dave Blandford, Alma College director of campus life. first thing we said, we asked our students, you understand what our alcohol policy says? it doesn make sense, it written in a language we don understand. So our first goal is to write it in a way that every person on campus could understand.
second thing, we heard this from a student, was guys have a three strike policy and the first two strikes are meaningless. So really, you giving us too many chances, essentially. So we created now what is a two strike system, so on a second strike (against a group) in any given year you could be removed from your housing. The national average is 4.4.
Alma is a four year residential college. Of its current enrollment of 1,
385, 95 percent of the students live in college housing. That could mean residence halls, a fraternity or sorority house, or one of several small houses, such as Model United Nations or a house for international students. All the housing is owned by the college.
A new program is rebuilding the campus houses into modern, safer buildings which will also have a resident administrator apartment. So far, only Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity has such a house (the TKEs lost their house in a fire in 2012), and the college weight lifting coach lives in the apartment. A second house for Delta Gamma Tau is beginning construction across the street from the home of Alma College President Jeff Abernathy.
Having the majority of students in college housing gives the school a great deal of control, compared to other large universities in the state where thousands of students live off campus in privately owned apartments.
makes a huge difference, said Anne Lambrecht, director of counseling, health and wellness. get a real sense of community. You also get a sense of ownership in where you live that I don think you see at a lot of other schools where students kind of come and go and only stay for a semester in campus housing. The rule applies regardless of whether it is a residence hall room or a house. This was in the previous policy, as well.
Groups, such as fraternities and sororities, that want to have a party, have to register it with the campus safety office and student life. Security guards from STT, a Mt. Pleasant based company, are provided for the party (one guard for up to 40 guests, two guards if there are more), plus the host group must provide five officers of its own. Guests are carded at the door. Those under 21 are given red wrist bands; those of legal drinking age get a different color.
A few times a year, there are events on campus where alcohol is served. IDs are checked this time using a scanner that can detect fake IDs. The scanners, which cost more than $1,000 each, were paid for through a grant.
The changes are combined with other practice policies the college already had in place.
seen a major decrease in the number of incidents in fraternities, in terms of fraternities as a whole getting in trouble for alcohol, Blandford said in mid October. trend has gone way down. On an average year, 10 years ago, you get around 10 cases that involved some sort of sanction being held against a fraternity, usually for an unregistered party, some sort of alcohol event. That number was down to two last year and we seen that trend going downhill. At this point this year,
we at zero.