D-Life students pose on the front lawn during D-Life weekend on Friday, April 8, 2016. 144 students participated in D-Life weekend this year. (Courtesy of Nadine Elsayed)

Two students visiting for Diversity Life Weekend cited for alcohol consumption

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D-Life students stand in front of the LOVE statue by FML on Friday, April 8, 2016. Several students were cited for underage drinking this year during D-Life weekend. (Courtesy of Nadine Elsayed)

Diversity Life students stand in front of the LOVE statue by FML on Friday, April 8, 2016. Two students attending the program were cited for underage drinking this year during weekend. (Courtesy of Nadine Elsayed)

During Diversity Life Weekend, which was held from April 8-10, accepted students from socioeconomically, regionally or racially diverse backgrounds spent the weekend at Lehigh and explored the campus. The 144 students who participated this year attended workshops and presentations, and they were encouraged to learn about life at Lehigh. They were not, however, encouraged or told to attend parties.

This year, two participants of Diversity Life Weekend, who were accepted into the Lehigh class of 2020, were cited for underage alcohol consumption. The two individuals were not named in the Lehigh Crime Log because they are minors.

The two incidents are under investigation by the Office of Admissions, but the students’ acceptances to the university could be repealed.

Bruce Bunnick, the director of Admissions, said the university does not promote any events that involve drugs or alcohol. Before Diversity Life Weekend participants arrive on campus, members of the Admissions Office require the prospective students sign an agreement that they will not use alcohol or drugs while at Lehigh for the weekend’s program. The document also states participants are liable for their actions and informs students that their admissions decision could be changed if they are involved in an alcohol- or drug-related incident.

“We have taken steps to ask students for a description of their side of the story and for a response to our office that will allow us to make a decision about their application. We have not made a decision,” Bunnick said.

A third was student cited for alcohol consumption during the weekend, but Bunnick said this student was not associated with Diversity Life.

Diversity Life Weekend participants stay with hosts for the nights they are here. These hosts, who are undergraduate students, attend a training session before the weekend. During this training, hosts are encouraged to tell the prospective students about social events and activities around campus that do not involve alcohol, Bunnick said.

The hosts also are required to sign an agreement similar to the one prospective students must sign, and this agreement states the hosts will not provide alcohol to the participants.

“We train hosts very well to make them aware there are certain aspects that we don’t want students to be exposed to,” Bunnick said. “Unfortunately, students who arrive on campus make their own decisions.”

Though Bunnick believes the two citations over the weekend were unusual, Diversity Life Weekend host Sam Rogalsky, ’18, said he is not surprised.

Rogalsky said the Diversity Life participant who stayed with him dropped off his bags at his room, went to participate in the events Admissions had set up for the prospective students, came back to shower in his apartment and then went out to a party.

“He came here with an agenda,” Rogalsky said. “He already was familiar with people on campus and knew what party he was going to when he got here.”

Rogalsky said he asked his roommates to pick up the student and bring him back to campus. When they came back, they said the prospective student asked if the Lehigh course load was hard and then asked if the girls at Lehigh were “easy.”

Rogalsky was disappointed and frustrated with the events of the weekend. He said he had hoped to show an eager, prospective student around Lehigh, but he said the student who stayed with him only wanted to party.

During the training session for hosts, Roglasky said multiple other hosts asked him what party he would be attending with his prospective student.

“I didn’t understand why they asked that, but apparently they said that’s what we were supposed to do,” Rogalsky said.

Not all Diversity Life students who participated in the weekend used it for parties. Prospective student Alex Pozos, who committed to Lehigh and will be a member of the class of 2020, said he enjoyed Diversity Life Weekend and did not attend a party.

Pozos said he enjoyed the activities Admissions set up for the participants, and his only disappointment was that he was not able to participate in them all because there were so many. He said on the second day of the program he heard about students attending parties and drinking, and he said this did not surprise him.

“For me, I did not like this because not only is it illegal, but students are at Lehigh for (Diversity Life Weekend) so they can enjoy the activities that were set up for them,” Pozos said. “The students were also jeopardizing their admissions decision by breaking the rules that they agreed to follow.”

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