Update on Alcohol Policy Issues

On Tuesday, March 30, a student demonstration on College Green protested the ban on alcohol at registered events announced last week in the wake of an alumnus's death and three other incidents (as reported in The Daily Pennsylvanian March 29, these were an alcohol poisoning case where the student was treated and released, and two Liquor Control Board raids on sorority parties).

At the rally, a crowd of Hey Day proportions chanted "Beer, beer" as speakers from the UA, IFC, the Committee for Tangible Change and other organizations spoke to aspects of the ban and its adoption. In line with various statements in D.P. articles and op-ed pieces during the week, most speakers objected either to the process or to the perceived dangers of a policy they said would relocate problem drinking to off-campus locations.

That evening, the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse, made up of students, faculty and staff, held its first meeting. A Provost's Office summary of the two-hour session said in part:

"The President and the Provost asked the committee to bring conclusions forward as they are reached so that they can make timely progress on the group's recommendations.

"The working group identified a list of problems that contribute to alcohol misuse. The members quickly agreed that the issue at hand is alcohol abuse, not alcohol use.

"The group began to search aggressively for alternative solutions to the temporary ban on alcohol at registered undergraduate parties and will meet intensively until such solutions are reached. The group expressed its commitment to meet as frequently and as long as possible to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to this and the more complex issue of alcohol abuse. The working group's next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 6 at 6 p.m.

"The group strongly agreed that its individual members need to immediately consult their constituencies to generate substantive suggestions on how to help combat alcohol abuse, broadly and to develop alternatives to the temporary ban on alcohol at registered undergraduate parties, specifically. Penn students are encouraged to submit their ideas to members of the committee or to peers@pobox for suggestions, ideas and recommendations."

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 27, April 6, 1999