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Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Campus drinking rules revamped

California State University system stiffens enforcement

May 16, 2001

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— California State University unveiled proposals Tuesday to curb drinking at the nation's largest public university system in the aftermath of the alcohol-related death of a student.

The policies would reach beyond traditional enforcement of underage drinking bans to include limiting alcohol advertising at campus-sponsored events and partnering with law enforcement at off-campus events.

"This is not a California State University problem. This is a problem in all colleges and university in the United States," Chancellor Charles Reed told CSU trustees. "If you don't pay attention to this, we will get in trouble."

The guidelines would require CSU's 23 campuses, which enroll more than 350,000 students, to begin enforcing the policies in the fall. The policies are expected to be easily adopted by the CSU board in July.

"From the beginning we agreed eliminating alcohol was not an effective approach. It hasn't worked at other universities," said John Welty, Fresno State president and author of the policies. "Our intent is not to stop alcohol consumption. Our intent is to say to students, 'Make responsible and healthy choices when you drink."'

General recommendations include offering treatment programs for students; notifying all students of campus, state and local alcohol laws; and offering awards and incentives to student organizations that raise funds from sources other than alcohol companies.

But the biggest change would be the creation of partnerships between the campuses and the community, including law enforcement, to enforce the policies off campus, Welty said.

For example, off-campus events sponsored by student organizations, such as fraternities and sororities, would not only have to follow state and local laws but campus rules as well, he said.

Some board members expressed concern about the university's ability to be effective off campus.

"Alcohol can be found in fraternity houses and organizations where alcohol is offered to students and, in fact, encouraged. Do we take any proactive action, especially when we know there are rush parties? Do we have undercover sting operations?" board member Ralph Pesqueira said.

Welty said decisions involving law enforcement would need to be made on a campus-by-campus basis.

The proposed policies also would provide $1.1 million in funding to put the policy into practice. Currently, there is no systemwide funding for alcohol education, prevention and enforcement policies.

The chancellor called for a review of the campuses alcohol policies after Adrian Heideman died Oct. 7 when he tried to drink a bottle of brandy during a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity party. The California State University, Chico, freshman from Palo Alto had a blood-alcohol content of 0.37 percent, more than four times the legal limit.

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