Adjustments to the Alcohol Ban

At week's end President Judith Rodin had accepted recommendations from the new Working Group on Alcohol Abuse that ease, for some spring events, the restrictions she announced in Almanac March 30. With provisos that campus policies and public laws be "strictly adhered to and enforced," the approvals suspend the ban in two instances:

  • student organization events at licensed third party vendor sites;
  • senior events which occur during Senior Week.

The president also accepted a recommendation to:

  • create additional sponsored events for Spring Fling weekend, particularly during the 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. time period (Saturday night/Sunday morning 4/17-18).

Other details, from reports issued by the Provost's Office:

April 6: The working group chaired by Provost Robert Barchi began its second meeting by summarizing ideas generated from a Monday evening student forum. The group developed a list of types of social events where alcohol is served and the kinds of problems related to those. The working group of 14 students and 7 faculty and staff members specifically focused on off-campus third party vendor events (those occurring off-campus in establishments licensed to serve alcohol), and measures that could be put in place or strengthened to lift the moratorium for these occasions.

After a two-hour discussion, the committee unanimously recommended the suspension be lifted for University student organizations holding events at off-campus third party vendor sites as long as the events conform, in toto, to appropriate policies including the University's Code of Student Conduct, the Alcohol and Drug Policy, the Greek Alcohol Management Policy, third party vendor policies, and applicable City, Commonwealth, and Federal laws. Organizations would also adhere to the following protocols:

  • The events would be limited to members plus two guests.
  • Lists of members and guests must be provided in advance, to VPUL, with those over 21 identified.
  • Wristbands would be provided to determine of-age attendees. Mandatory designated legal-age peer monitors must be present; one monitor for every 20 students at the event. Monitors would sign a waiver not to drink and would be available to assist students in need of any alcohol-abuse related assistance.
  • Third party vendors must sign an agreement with the University stipulating its commitment to conform to all University alcohol policies, local, state and federal laws.
  • University student organizations hosting events through Third Party Vendors have collective responsibility to abide by all relevant policies and laws.
  • Sanctions for those who do not adhere to University policy, local, state and federal laws will be strictly enforced in the most stringent way through the Office of Student Conduct.

President Rodin also authorized Thursday night's Penn Rocks for the Homeless fundraiser, which raises some $10,000 annually, when she and Provost Barchi were "satisfied that the group had put into place all the appropriate safeguards to prevent underage drinking and to safeguard students' health and well-being."

April 8: During a two-hour discussion Thursday morning, the group focused on the "most significant, broad issues related to alcohol abuse" with a goal of providing "short-term and long-term recommendations that are thoughtful, concrete, and workable." The Working Group formed three subcommittees of students and faculty to study certain issues in depth:

Health and Safety (e.g., counseling and approaches to students who present repeatedly with alcohol-related problems)

Reponsibility/Accountability (of individuals and groups)

Alcohol Abuse (how to minimize risk and how to increase social options that do not involve alcohol)

Each subcommittee is to consult with constituencies over the weekend and report to the group at its meeting on Tuesday, April 13.

At the April 8 meeting the group offered its second and third recommendations (to create additional sponsored events for Spring Fling weekend, and to lift the ban for senior events which occur during Senior Week and in which all University policies, local, state and federal laws will be strictly adhered to and enforced). President Rodin approved both recommendations Thursday afternoon.


Correction: On the list of members of the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse published in Almanac March 30, Melanie Redmond should be identified as a member of the Class of 2000, not 2001 as typed. --Ed.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 28, April 13, 1999