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Archive for Friday, February 19, 1999

ALCOHOL ISSUES DOMINATE CAMPUS MEETING AT KU

February 19, 1999

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The chancellor and the student body president spoke at a "town meeting" on the campus.

Though it was billed as a town meeting with all topics open for discussion, a forum Thursday at Kansas University kept coming back to alcohol's uses and abuses.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and student body president Kevin Yoder were the headliners at the town meeting. They delivered their "State of the Campus" reports and answered audience questions. Almost 50 people attended the meeting at the KU Visitors Center.

The chancellor reminded those in attendance that "the idea behind tonight is to have a real town meeting. ... There's no question off limits here." But questions related to alcohol continued to come to the fore.

"Whether you're under 21 or you're over 21, you're going to be faced with decisions about alcohol," Hemenway said. "I'd like to see student government and students get involved in a dialogue about alcohol. ... Alcohol is an issue our campus has to deal with."

Yoder said that the student government was pushing for expansion of the Safe Ride program and an approach toward the alcohol problem that pushes moderation.

"There's a culture and a climate," Yoder said, that condones excessive drinking. That needs to change.

"People drink, but binge drinking is not the thing to do," he said.

Hemenway said expanding the Safe Ride program -- in which students at bars essentially can receive a free cab ride home -- was something to consider.

"I'm not in favor of a Safe Ride program that'll pick you up at The Wheel and take you to The Granada."

The two also discussed requiring registration of kegs and having the university report incidents, such as minor in possession citations, to students' parents.

"I'm very much against the university using the power to report activities that happen off campus," Yoder said.

Hemenway said though he wasn't sure the power would be used and the issue was volatile, he thought it could be helpful.

"As a parent, I'm able to have some influence on (his children's) actions," he said.

Yoder opened the evening by talking about the different projects the KU Student Senate had undertaken during the year: student parking, enrollment, fall break, student recreation on campus and campus safety.

The chancellor talked about the university's focus on unifying KU's main campus, the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., and the regents center in Overland Park, how the university can serve Kansas better, and how to create a world-class learning environment in Lawrence.

Other questions during the evening centered on parking on campus, the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition, funding for different university and student programs, student lobbying and technology.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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