RAs fired for drinking in the dorms

Five UVM Residential Advisors were terminated from their positions before the start of classes due to drinking; confirmed by an anonymous source and Annie Stevens, the Assistant Vice President of Student and Campus Life.

“ResLife does a very good job of explaining to RAs of what the expectations are, and I don’t think that there are RAs out there that are in any doubt that they have any leeway given to them around violating University policy,” Stevens said.

“I think if any RAs violate policy, it’s always a bad sign.” Stevens also said that the firing of RAs because of drinking is not something that happens regularly.

According to one of the RAs fired, who wishes to remain anonymous, they were contacted on the phone by Stacey Miller, the Director of Residential Life, and told explicitly not to relay any information about the incident to The Cynic.

A mass e-mail was also sent to the entire RA staff instructing them not to communicate with The Cynic.

“It’s a personnel matter. No place at this University will publicize private personnel action,” Stevens said.

The termination of the five RAs comes in timely conjunction with an SGA resolution to involve the University in national discourse about the 21-year-old legal drinking age.

UVM SGA Senator Julia Michel, from the Committee on Legislative Action, introduced the resolution, which was passed on Tuesday, Sept. 2. The resolution is in support of the Amethyst Initiative, a public statement signed by college presidents and chancellors who supÂport “informed and unimpeded debate on the 21 year-old drinking age,” as stated on the Initiative’s website.

The Amethyst Initiative, based in MiddleÂbury, Vt., currently has 129 signatures, including the presidents of Middlebury College, Vermont Law School, Vermont State College, Bennington College, Castleton State College, Vermont Technical College and Johnson State College.

“I believe that young adults need to learn responsibility for alcohol consumption as they are learning about constructing mature relationships, choosing partners and friends, exploring their life’s work, and living in community,” Barbara E. Murphy, President of Johnson State College, said in a statement on the Initiative’s Web site of why she is a supporter.

The SGA resolution requests that “the Board of Trustees consider and President Daniel Fogel add the University of Vermont’s name to the Amethyst Initiative’s statement.” The resolution also expects the University, after thorough debate on the legal drinking age, to reform drinking policies according to “the suggestions and findings of the debate.”

“College campuses are just reflecting society in general around how we’ve used or abused alcohol,” Stevens said.

“You have to look at everything in totality; you look at policy – like age limit – you look at what education that we’re doing to help kids understand how it affects them and their lives and their relationships, you look at community, you look at the legality of things. It’s more of an environmental change model … there’s no one silver bullet here.”