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Student Affairs vice provost outlines goals for 1995-96

STANFORD -- Vice Provost Mary Edmonds has announced that she will form a task force of faculty, students and staff to conduct a systematic review of the university's policy on student use of alcohol.

Edmonds told a gathering of more than 300 Student Affairs staff gathered in Kresge Auditorium for her fourth annual "State of Student Affairs" address on Tuesday, Oct. 24, that the task force will research past and present alcohol-related practices at Stanford and will gather data from other universities to see how they are currently dealing with the subject.

"There is a sense that no one understands the [current] alcohol policy," Edmonds said. "The policy is very clear -- as is the criminal code -- on alcohol-related conduct. What is not clear is the set of procedures that allows the policy to be implemented in a consistent manner, and the delineation of the role of those in positions to make a difference."

Edmonds said that she hopes the task force will complete its work at the end of this academic year and clear guidelines can be developed for the 1996-97 year.

Edmonds also called on Student Affairs staff to begin a new dialogue with graduate and undergraduate students, staff members in residential education and alumni. She said that more students should be included in decision-making processes and provided with rational explanations of university policies.

"It can be a teaching and a learning situation for the students to understand from us how an institution of higher learning -- which is a very complex organization -- operates. Don't keep them out of the loop. Take time for explanations," Edmonds said.

Edmonds cited two areas, in addition to the university's alcohol policy, that will be addressed by Student Affairs in the coming year: the Greek system and student judicial review. Comprehensive review of each has been long overdue, Edmonds said.

In the case of the Greek system, she said, a review shouldn't sound any alarms about an impending demise of fraternities and sororities at Stanford.

"Greek organizations, when they work well, bring a special vitality to a campus. We wish that to be so on this campus. So it is time to measure its health and see, how, together, we can make the system stronger," Edmonds said.

Edmonds saluted her staff, saying they had demonstrated "resilience" in confronting a changing environment.

"We have survived budget cuts, reallocation of resources and personnel, reorganization, and the search for and selection of several directors and a new dean of students," Edmonds said. "Now we are in a position to develop a strategic plan that will inform our decisions as we move toward the next century."


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