Local News

Universities Cracking Down on Alcohol Abuse

Posted August 27, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Most universities have policies regarding students' use of alcohol, but some policies are stricter than others. Some, in fact, have gone beyond just creating new rules.

A recent tragedy at Louisiana State Universityin Baton Rouge involved the consumption of a fatal amount of alcohol by a young student. The incident has college leaders and concerned citizens taking a new look at controlling underage drinking on campuses. The deceased student was found to have had a blood alcohol level six times the legal limit. Investigators say the young man would have to have drunk at least 25 drinks in one hour to reach such a level.

At Duke University leaders have taken this issue very seriously. Hundreds of freshmen moved into Duke's dormitories Wednesday and school leaders say they want those students to start off on the right foot. That, they say, means learning not to associate alcohol with campus life.

At Duke, there is no alcohol allowed in freshman dorms. The school also requires that all parties be registered with the university and that university bartenders, who will check students for identification, be used. But leaders say they want to go beyond merely changing the rules. Their goal is to change campus culture.

That, they say, will involve education, awareness and attitude if the college social scene is to change.

Duke student Nana Han says she doesn't drink and doesn't like it when others do.

Duke Chapel Dean Will Willimon says kegs on the Duke campus are a thing of the past.

Duke offers educational programs on alcohol, most to incoming freshmen, but also offers alternative activities for those students who choose not to drink.

Studies show that alcohol plays a role in more than one fourth of all college dropouts and that 90% of all campus rapes involve alcohol. At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, surveys show 37% of students binge drink.