Drugs, Sex and Rock ‘n Roll: Traveling with the Big Three

December 15, 2016

Following the rules is easy when you know what they are but what do you do when the rules vary?

When students head off campus the Big Three rules fall away, however what happens if the off-campus students are on a Whitworth sponsored trip? The answer is: it depends. In some cases all Big Three rules apply and in others the trip rules vary.

For most Whitworth-led trips the rules are left up to the leader’s discretion.

The Big Three are not mentioned at all in the procedures for off-campus events in the ASWU club manual given to club presidents.

Alcohol is mentioned once in the liability form for health insurance reasons in the student liability waiver.

It states, “I understand that if I am involved in an accident/incident and alcohol is involved, my health/travel insurance could be void.”

After that is it never mentioned again.

The only other guideline club officers have is the reasons a person might be pulled from an event.

Those reason are, “if is determined that [a student’s’] conduct is detrimental to the best interests of the group, [the student’s] conduct violates any rule of the Program, or for any other reason in the University’s discretion,” according to the off-campus liability waiver.

Although clubs rarely have events off-campus because of rules against transporting students in personal cars, the rules once off-campus are unclear.

The rules for Whitworth-led study abroad are equally vague.

Group study abroad leaders are given the “Off-Campus programs standard operating procedures” which specifies that the rules of the trip are left up to discretion of the program leaders.

“Behavioral expectations will vary from program to program,” according to the off-campus programs standard operating procedures.

The reason the rules are left to the discretion of the leaders is to account for cultural norms, said Charles Tappa, associate director of off campus programs.

Some trips such as the Anthropology in Hawaii trip led by professor Raja Tanas explicitly state that the Big Three rules apply. There is no alcohol use, cohabitation or disruption allowed.

Tanas views the trip as taking Whitworth to Hawaii not as an off campus course, he said.

“You’re on campus. We are away from campus but you are on campus,” Tanas said.

Other trips such as Core 250 in Europe led by Forrest Baird allow alcohol consumption.

“When you’re going an off-campus program you have to be a little more subjective,” Tappa said.

The rules should be different if the program goes to Britain where pub life is basically family life versus a majority muslim country where there is a drastically different drinking culture, Tappa said.

The program leader rules for off-campus programs are encouraged not only to take into consideration cultural norms but also enforceability.

“If you say we’re not going to allow that, you better never make a rule you’re not willing to enforce.”

For example, if a leader finds out a student legally had a beer at a pub but the program banned alcohol, the leader must send the student home-even though they didn’t do anything illegal, Tappa said.

Not only do the Big Three rules vary program to program but so do the rules set by the program leader.

Baird requires everyone on his trip to take umbrellas when it rains, he said.

Professor Megan Hershey who will be leading a trip of students to Tanzania in the spring has strict dress code rules.

“I want students to look as if they’ve been in the country for a while,” Hershey said. “First for safety reasons and also because it makes them more approachable.”

All of the group study abroad programs prioritize safety both for the individual safety of the students and for the group.

“A group of students have their own dynamic,” Tappa said.  “If a student is doing something dangerous or damaging the group dynamic sufferers and the experience lessons for the other students.”

The consequence of breaking a rule on an off-campus program is the leader can send the student home.

However, no students have ever been sent home as disciplinary action for at least 10 years, however, Tappa said.
Once the student returns to school there may or may not be consequences from Student Life as well.

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