Faculty’s attention drawn to DACA support, student substance abuse, and bias incident at first meeting of the year

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Almost 120 DePauw University faculty members met for the first time this year on Sept. 11 to discuss a plethora of issues. Top issues include support for undocumented students, high risk drinking, and the Humbert Hall bias incident.

The meeting began on a sorrowful note, as Professors Jim Benedix, Bruce Stinebrickner and Dana Dudle spoke about their late colleagues Preston Adams, Darby Morrisroe and Bruce Serlin, respectively.

A motion in support of DePauw’s DACA students was presented at the meeting. The motion stated, “DePauw University faculty are united in declaring that we are with Dreamers and DACA recipients. We recognize their enormous role in our communities and families, and their contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.”

DePauw faculty made it clear that they will fight for DACA students and that this issue will not go unnoticed. The authors of the motion want DACA students to know that “… we see you, we value you, and we are ready to defend you.”

The motion was submitted by Rebecca Alexander, assistant professor of education studies, Angela Castañeda, chair of the sociology and anthropology department, Jeff Hansen, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Douglas Harms, professor of computer science, Paul Johnson, assistant professor of modern languages, Glen Keucker, professor of history and Alejandro Puga, professor of modern languages regarded DACA students as “integral members” of the DePauw community and recognized President Mark McCoy’s advocacy for DePauw’s DACA students. The faculty showed their support of DACA students with a vote to pass the motion.

With the number of hospitalizations rising to 13 over the weekend, Dorian Shager, dean of campus life, and Julia Sutherlin, assistant dean of campus life and director of alcohol initiatives gave a statistics-heavy presentation on DePauw’s substance abuse problem and the initiatives they will implement to combat this growing problem. According to the presentation, binge drinking has been steadily increasing at DePauw, unlike colleges across the country, where binge drinking has been declining.

Plans to fix this issue include prohibiting hard alcohol at registered events on campus and allowing approved kegs instead. TIPS training and an awareness campaign have been implemented in order to educate students on the substance abuse problem at DePauw and how they can be active in the process.

DePauw also plans to educate students on the DePauw Safe Community Initiative which can be found in the student handbook and is similar to the Indiana Lifeline law, which was put into law after the death of an Indiana college student whose friends did not call for help when he was dangerously intoxicated.

Further, Karin Wimbley, assistant professor of English, questioned the Humbert bias incident and what sanctions the responsible student received. Alan Hill, vice president for student academic life, told faculty he could not disclose the exact sanctions the student received. Hill did say the student received the “highest level” of sanctions, which includes suspension and expulsion.

The faculty also showed frustration with the lack of transparency from DePauw about the issue when they did not receive an update about how the situation was handled or how the student had been sanctioned.

President Mark McCoy discussed the financial state of the University. “There is no fear of going under and the endowment and property exceeded a billion dollars for the first time,” President McCoy said.

President McCoy also gave his support for undocumented students, and the initiatives being put in place for the high risk drinking behavior. Finally, President McCoy touched on the newly found swastika symbol in Asbury Hall.

The next faculty meeting will be Oct. 2.