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Making the Case for Responsible Partying

Dean Elmore meets off-campus students at local restaurants


“I wanted to say thanks,” Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore told the students who’d just ambled up to him at Allston’s Tavern in the Square. His appreciation—for the low number of alcohol-related violations and hospital runs in the opening weeks of the semester—was directed to undergraduates who live off campus and frequently host parties.

For the first time in his nearly decadelong deanship, Elmore (SED’87) is meeting informally at local restaurants with those students to reinforce in a low-key way his pitch for responsible partying. The get-togethers eschew a formal presentation in favor of laid-back socializing, the kind people typically do at the end of a long day. In Allston, it was obvious from the Harpoon IPA in Elmore’s hand that he wasn’t pushing prohibition.

“Socializing is fabulous, I like doing it, they like doing it, and I know it’s going to happen,” Elmore said in an interview. His goal is simply to remind students to watch each other’s back during social situations. “Students who live off campus are going to be in the best position, because they’re holding the functions and the parties, to watch over people. I just want to be available to answer questions for folks and encourage people to have that bit of presence about themselves in social situations. What I want is for us to look after each other. ‘How do I want to represent myself? What kind of party do I want to have?’”

This semester’s partying scene has “been loud, but I would say there are way less people in the street this year just wandering around. I’ve seen less ambulances,” said Pratt Street resident Peter McGuirk (ENG’13), one of the students who came to the Tavern in the Square. Last year, “we saw all of these people getting in trouble with the police because they had these wild parties.” Housemate Timothy Mule (ENG’13) agreed: “A lot more responsible drinking, responsible partying has been going on.”

They attributed the change to stepped-up alcohol enforcement by the BU, Boston, and Brookline Police Departments. This is the second year of that program, and after last year’s crackdown on loud parties and public inebriation, “we know they’re serious about it now, and they’re not playing around,” McGuirk said. “They’re going to act on their words.”

The meetings Elmore is holding come as Boston police are vowing to arrest student tenants whose apartments have hosted serial alcohol law violations.

Elmore is hoping for a continuation of recent weeks’ experience, with students cooperating with Boston and Brookline police who’ve asked them to tone down parties, he said. “The police are being very adult about the way they treat our students, and the students are responding in adult-like ways.”

With just a few students showing up at the Allston gathering, Elmore is hoping for better attendance at the next get-together over hors d’oeuvres (on BU’s nickel), scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, at Sunset Cantina, 916 Commonwealth Ave.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

5 Comments on Making the Case for Responsible Partying

  • Thomas on 10.03.2012 at 8:31 am

    Bravo Dean Elmore! It’s good to know those off-campus are not forgotten. Dean Elmore reaches out to the entirety of the student body.

  • SR on 10.03.2012 at 9:46 am

    Yeah, it has been better in the GAP area this semester. On weekends the streets are loaded with drunk imbeciles. Whatever is happening, it’s working.

  • Parent of a Freshman on 10.03.2012 at 10:39 am

    Thank you, Dean Elmore, for your emphasis on personal responsibility and awareness of others in social situations. Having a beer with students is a perfect way to do this!

  • Raj on 10.03.2012 at 11:28 am

    Dean Elmore is so awesome. I love that he does stuff like this!

  • Sue on 10.03.2012 at 2:32 pm

    I agree that this is a great way for Dean Elmore to talk to students about drinking. I love his emphasizing personal responsibility and for students to watch out for each other. Keep an eye on each other, and don’t let someone who may have drunk too much to go wondering off alone, as what happened last year to that BC student.

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