Report suggests alcohol policy changes

The Commission on the Prevention of Alcohol Abuse (CPAA) recently published a report containing four recommendations for the College.

The recommendations all relate to the College’s alcohol policy.

According to the report, the first recommendation given by the Commission was to form a “Healthy Campus Task Force,” which will assess alcohol abuse on campus. It will also be charged with the implementation of programs and policies to prevent alcohol and drug abuse.

The Commission also suggested that the College play a greater role in managing the student environment. This includes changing student attitudes, protecting students from drug and alcohol abuse and acting quickly to treat students who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.

The Commission also recommended making revisions to the College’s alcohol policy.

Finally, the CPAA advised the College to involve “students and parents, faculty and staff, and alumni in prevention planning.”

“I can already see movement in terms of the administrative response, specifically in President Gitenstein’s Healthy Campus Initiative, as well as the revisions of the alcohol and other drug policy that are taking place this semester,” Mark Woodford, commission chair and professor of counseling education, said.

CPAA, which was established February 2007 by Beth Paul, vice provost, and James Norfleet, vice president of Student Affairs, was charged with recommending to the College how to address alcohol issues on campus and how to reduce dangerous drinking.

The Commission’s members include students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents.

“I believe that this policy will be effective because it pays attention to the student and the culture in which we live,” Nora Wentworth, student member of CPAA, said.

“If the students are provided with information to make healthy decisions and (have) the support and guidance of the school to make healthy and smart decisions, then we will,” she said.

According to Norfleet, the office of Student Affairs has already begun to update the College’s alcohol and drug policies based on the commission’s findings.

“The proposed policy is winding its way through governance and will be presented to the Board of Trustees for action at its December meeting,” Norfleet said.

According to Woodward, to increase student voices in the recommendations, CPAA student members conducted informal surveys in Brower Student Center, Travers/Wolfe halls and Eickhoff Hall.

The Commission also conducted a review of their recommendations to affirm the reflected the “best practices” from research done on minimizing alcohol abuse.

Sub-committees were formed to investigate how to increase alcohol-free events at the College.

“The Commission’s recommendations clearly help us to continue to enhance our healthy community,” Paul said.

Wentworth said she finds it comforting that the faculty and staff at the College are placing students’ health first. She said, “Hopefully over time, the College can become completely acculturated in an atmosphere that promotes such mutual responsibility, and the punitive reactions to excessive drinking and other drug use will be very minimal.”