By Lori Bredemeyer, Managing Editor
Although a national poker craze has grown through the last several years as ESPN, Bravo and several other TV networks have broadcast major tournaments, Dr. Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life, said he has not seen much of a problem on campus and has not had to take any disciplinary action against it.
Gambling in any form is a violation of Section 1-06 of the Student Guide, and consequences can include an informal or written warning. Barnard said instead of reprimanding the men playing the card game, residence directors this year are focusing on encouraging the use of chips instead of money.
“What we’ve attempted to do is create environments where playing poker could be much like playing spades or chess or any other game,” he said.
Men are allowed to play poker as long as the money they put in is used as an entry fee, like what they would pay to play in any other kind of tournament.
Jason Craddock, residence director of Edwards, said he thinks his residents understand the distinction between gambling and paying an entry fee.
“They should be aware of that difference,” he said. “Like it says in the handbook: Gambling is against the student guide, and if you’re putting down your own money, that’s just leading to issues. They should know the difference, and they will be treated as if they know the difference.”
Barnard said he has been considering the effectiveness of the policy against gambling and said it might be clarified more in the future.
“Our policies can’t legislate behavior,” he said. “… I don’t even assume that we’re going to control behavior off campus. What we can do though is set some limits about what’s allowed on campus in our residence halls or what’s allowed by our sponsoring groups, whether they’re any student organization, social club or otherwise.”
Todd Ormsby, resident director of Smith and Adams halls, said although he has noticed a few poker games Smith Hall, it’s not something he has encouraged, especially because of the stigma attached to the game.
“It just has that negative connotation to it regardless,” he said. “I do believe it to be like any other game … but because it’s poker, it’s known to people as a gambling game. That’s why it’s probably best that we don’t play in the lobby because if a parent walked in and saw there were chips out and the guys were playing poker, they would assume there was gambling going on.”
Barnard said the important thing about allowing non-gambling poker games in the residence halls is that they can be supervised.
“We know that we can’t control all behavior,” he said. “That is not the point. The point is to be actively involved in students’ lives so that we can have a positive presence in their possible choices.
“Our greatest concern is maintaining relationships with students so that we can continue to have a positive voice in their decisions.”