Local News

Duke University May Change Anti-Alcohol Campaign After Poor Turnouts For Events

Posted September 18, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Less than a month into the school year,Duke Universityis rethinking its anti-alcohol campaign. The school has canceled three upcoming alcohol-free events because of poor attendance at earlier parties.

For many students, drinking is just part of the college culture.

"You come into college thinking this is what college is about," says student Josh Reaves. "You're supposed to drink. You're supposed to go out and have fun."

However, Duke administrators say some students drink too much and too often.

Duke juniorRaheem Bathdied last year after a drinking binge. Twelve students have been hospitalized for alcohol abuse this semester. A series of alcohol-free parties on campus was a bust.

"By labeling the events non-alcoholic, we think some students avoided it because it had that tag on it," says Jim Clack of Duke Student Affairs.

Some students say the anti-alcohol plan was doomed to fail. They think administrators would have more success promoting moderation.

"I think the university's stance to go completely anti-alcohol is not realistic," says student Bryan Frank. "Allow them some opportunities to drink on campus and keep them here at least so they're not driving drunk. It's really stupid to push people off campus."

Administrators agree the alcohol-free parties were not well planned or promoted. Monday, students gave them some new ideas.

"Perhaps we want to go with big screen televisions for Duke away basketball games, followed by bands and food and so forth," Clack says.

Duke officials will divide the budget for the canceled parties among student groups, who can plan their own events. They will have more specific plans in about a month.