Letter to the Editor: Addressing ACESS

letter to the editor graphic

A hot topic on campus is All Campus Events Student Safety (ACESS), especially after the happenings at the all-campus event, 10/10. ACESS (not Campus Safety and Security) is an SGA organization whose purpose is to look out for students at all-campus events, particularly Gardner and Harris parties. The issue at hand is that the student body feels as though ACESS is an organized group of informants out to get students into trouble. Let us state that this absolutely is not its intention.

ACESS, a group of students who are selected by the ACESS Directors after an intense application and interview process, has one general goal: to ensure the safety and well-being of students at various campus parties and events. From general crowd control and intervention in the events of severe intoxication and potential disputes to connecting students to various other measures of safety in the event of an emergency, ACESS is intended to serve as a peer-led frontline of safety and an ultimate form of self-gov during campus events: students helping students. It is important to note that without ACESS, parties would have professional security officers at events. They are not meant to be watchdogs looking for opportunities to get students into trouble. This exact point is what the general student body is confused about.

Let us outline the specifics of the job of the chiefs (appointed ACESS staff who are responsible for writing up reports after events happen). Chiefs write reports about each event, and it is these particular reports that appear to be the genesis of a lot of the conflicts arising. We are going to be 100 percent transparent with you all and tell you what exactly goes into these reports and what the very purpose of them is.

These reports include a myriad of information. They document the performance of the staff who worked the event to track how each individual ACESS worker is doing at their job. In addition to that, the reports include a section where chiefs include information about concerning incidents that happened during the event. These incidents may include and are not limited to physical altercations, arguing and sexual predatory behaviors. In this section, the chiefs collect information from their staff who were working the event that night to compile a list of incidents that are of concern. Next, there is a section about hosts. Did they follow the hosting guidelines they agreed to? Did they remain substance-free during the entirety of the event? Finally, there is a section on student information. In this section, the chiefs have the opportunity and responsibility to document the names of students who they were concerned about during the event and the specifics regarding what lead to their concerns about the students. The purpose of recording these names is not to get these students into trouble. Instead, it is to help identify students who the ACESS chiefs may think need further support from the school. For example, if ACESS chiefs document that student X is heavily intoxicated and vomiting at events on a weekly basis, the administrators who the reports are sent to are able to identify that student X may be a student who may need assistance from resources on and off campus. These reports are then sent off to a number of administrators, and once this happens, the involvement of ACESS in what happens with the students listed in the report ends. It is up to the receivers of these reports to pursue further action, such as bringing someone to Judicial Council or recommending someone to attend an Alcohol BASICS Training.

It is absolutely imperative that we as a collective understand the intention of these reports. They are not meant to be a blacklist sent off to administrators to get students into any trouble. They are not meant to lead to punitive action against named students. They are intended to serve as a means by which ACESS connects students who they feel could use information on best practices and helpful resources concerning the use of substances on and around campus to the right resources.

Clearly, the role of ACESS on campus and how it relates to students and our overall vision of healthy self-governance needs to be addressed. Instead of trying to create a divide between ACESS and student party-goers, we should all be held responsible for making every all-campus event a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved.

—Nicole Albrecht ’16, Nelson Ogbuagu ’16, Jelena Kaplanovic ’16, Barrett

Morrissette ’16