Two juniors who wish to remain anonymous were discovered with alcohol in their hotel room on a Model United Nations (UN) trip that took place at George Washington University from Thursday, March 26 to Sunday, March 30. The alcohol was discovered by social studies teacher and Model UN faculty adviser Clarissa Bushman while the students were debating at the conference.
Bushman declined to comment.
The juniors spoke with Principal Stanley Teitel and their parents the Monday following the conference to discuss the necessary punishments. The two are temporarily suspended from Model UN and are required to carry out community service around the school at the end of the year, as well as attend substance abuse counseling.
One of the juniors involved declined to mention the amount of community service they must complete.
Only the two were punished, yet according to the junior involved, “there were more people involved,” he said. “The people might’ve moved rooms throughout the night. It wasn’t just the same group.”
The other junior involved, as well as members of Model UN who weren’t involved, declined to comment.
Although not all involved were punished, the junior said that the punishment they have been given is fair. “Usually when alcohol is involved, people do get suspended,” he said. “But because the suspects of this had pretty clean records and were by no means misbehaving or delinquent students, the punishment was kept light.”
Teitel declined to comment.
The junior also said that “general community service is a more productive means of carrying out a punishment than suspension. They actually get something done.”
“It was fair that most of the matter [...] was handled by Ms. Bushman, Mr. Teitel and the parents of the kids,” junior and Secretary-General of Model UN Evan Smith said. “They’re allowed to be members of the club next year. They’re not barred from certain conferences. They’re not barred from participating in certain activities.”
One of the major aspects of the punishment was that the students were banned from participating in Stuyvesant’s Model UN Conference (STUYMUNC), which occurred a week after the incident.
“We only found out a week before the conference,” Smith said. “We had to move quickly. They were both directors for committees and we had to tap into some other senior delegates who were very gracious and stepped up and filled those spots.”
Despite the loss, “it was possibly our most successful STUYMUNC as long as I’ve been here,” Smith said. “The biggest loss was probably to [the juniors] themselves because they put so much work into preparing.”
However, Smith said that he is still disappointed with what had happened. “We’re paying for two delegates to go on a trip and they’re not performing as well as they should because they’re doing other things,” he said.
According to Smith, this is not the first time something of this nature happened on a Model UN trip. However, Smith said that the last occurrence was prior to four years ago and under a different faculty adviser. According to the junior involved, a similar incident involving alcohol had occurred on a past Speech and Debate trip.
“Most people at Stuy are intelligent enough to realize that this kind of stuff does happen, as unfortunate as that is,” Smith said. “And it isn’t necessarily a reflection of the other 130 members of the club that these two decided to goof off.
Although both Smith and the junior said that there wasn’t a large amount of alcohol consumed, “there are going to be some changes in the way trips are run,” Smith said. “But it’s going to be mostly an attitude change. We’re going to hopefully generate more of a sense of seriousness about this because that’s really what causes these problems to happen.”