January 18, 2002

Committee Plans 2002 Slope Day

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Before winter break, the Slope Day Steering Committee, a sub-committee of the President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, met and made preliminary recommendations to President Hunter R. Rawlings III for this year’s Slope Day. The committee, made up of three faculty members, nine students, and eight staff members, await his response.

The group voted on the proposals that would minimally affect classes, maintain a free and responsible atmosphere for Slope Day participants, limit the event to the Cornell community and guests, and to acknowledge public health and safety, while still recognizing state, local, and University rules.

Growing Concerns

Rawlings created the Council to address drug and alcohol concerns on campus, and the steering committee has been charged with aiding the Council with problems associated with Slope Day.

The Slope Day Steering Committee is one of the six committees working with the Council to plan and implement these measures that would curb substance abuse on the slope.

“First, we recommended bringing entertainment back to the slope,” said Kent L. Hubbell ’69, dean of students and chair of the Slope Day Steering Committee.

Hubbell also mentioned other suggestions made by the committee, such as making food a bigger part of the celebration.

“The second recommendation is to rekindle the original tradition of hosting a feast, like [many Slope Day celebrations] in the 80’s and 70’s,” he said.

Another proposal was to permit a [maximum] limit of one six-pack of soft alcohol, such as beer, per student of legal drinking age on Libe Slope. Some members wanted no hard alcohol on the slope.

“Hard alcohol creates the most risk of alcohol poisoning,” Hubbell said.

Another thought was to have staff check points to limit Slope Day to the Cornell community and to use identification bracelets to see which students are of legal drinking age.

Other ideas that were discussed, but are still uncertain, include the start and end times of Slope Day and whether Slope Day should be merged with Slope Fest, the non-alcoholic celebration on West Campus.

“The work we’ve done so far is to save Slope Day. We want to make sure it’s safe. We don’t want a tragedy that will end Slope Day,” Hubbell said.

“The meeting went well,” said Student Assembly President Uzo Asonye ’02, a member of the Slope Day Steering Committee.

“We pretty much agreed on the preliminary proposals. We came to a consensus on how to deal with events that happen on Slope Day. We’re working to make it a safer event, not to have it end — to keep it a tradition.”

In February, public forums will be held in which the Cornell community can voice their opinions on the Slope Day Steering Committee’s recommendations, before they finalize their suggestions to Rawlings.

If Rawlings agrees with the final recommendations presented after the forums, the Committee will then work to implement the suggestions for this year’s Slope Day.

“Hopefully we will be able to maintain the free liberalizing of Slope Day. Students have control over the event, and ultimately we need to be involved to make it successful,” Asonye said.

He also encouraged students to attend the forums so that the committee members would hear their opinions.

“The [Steering Committee] should hear what the students have to say. We tried to come up with recommendations that the students would agree to, so that they would understand that [the recommendations] are to make Slope Day safer,” Asonye added.

A member of the Council believes that the suggestions of the Slope Day Steering Committee is a step in the right direction and that behavior around alcohol should be modified to reduce problems associated with alcohol.

“I think that they are in general good steps in reducing alcoholic harm and providing a festive time for everyone,” said Timothy C. Marchell, director of substance abuse services for Gannett: University Health Services. “In order to change the drinking culture, we need to have a collaboration between alumni, students, staff, and faculty so that we can work towards common


Archived article by Kelly Samuels