The following summary regarding proposed revisions to the University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy is drawn largely from the Alcohol Response Team’s full report.
The Alcohol Response Team (ART) was assembled this fall both in response to a terrible accident at a fraternity party involving a Penn undergraduate and because it has been five years since the last major revision of the University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy.
The committee held meetings throughout the fall, some of which focused on a review of the Alcohol and Drug Policy, both with respect to its philosophical underpinnings and its practical application. The group concluded that, while in general the policy is sound, there were some specific areas that could be strengthened.
In particular, the ART focused its attention on high-risk drinking in social settings and the need for trained, capable students empowered to understand and intervene in problematic situations.
The policy revisions proposed below are intended to make the campus social environment safer and encourage and train Penn students to continue to “take ownership” and work to discourage a culture of high-risk drinking.
—Peter Conn, Interim Provost,
Chair, Alcohol Response Team
Proposed Revisions to the
University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy
The language proposed by the Alcohol Response Team adds or reshapes policy in the following particular areas:
1) further control and clarify permissible access to alcohol at registered, on-campus parties;
2) increase internal oversight by student organizations at their own events;
3) expand training goals for students within organizations to enable them to better address alcohol and drug related problems, particularly high-risk behaviors; and require groups hosting social events with alcohol to develop “competency” plans to host safer parties.
The proposed changes to the Alcohol and Drug Policy appear below, preceded by the language from the current policy which is available online at www.vpul.upenn.edu/alcohol/policy2.html.
1) With respect to location of alcohol service and consumption, current policy (Section II-B, Number 6) states: “Alcohol may be served only from a controlled, designated area by sober, trained, of-age bartenders who are unaffiliated with the host organization.”
Proposed Additional Language:
**For the duration of registered events, individual members of host organizations may not entertain guests in private areas, including private bedrooms. Party attendance is restricted to the public area designated for the party. This prohibition applies to alcohol purchased and served by individual members of a host organization even if the alcohol is served in private bedrooms to of-age guests.**
2) On host monitors, the current policy (Section II-B, Number 8) reads: “At all registered events, whether on-campus or at Third Party Vendors, the host organization must identify non-alcohol-consuming host monitors. There shall be at least one such host monitor for each 50 guests. These host monitors must be identified prior to the event and must be visually identifiable (e.g. armband, t-shirt or other visible designation of host monitor status) during the event to those in attendance.”
Proposed Additional Language:
**At all registered events, whether on-campus or at Third Party Vendors, the host organization must identify trained, non-alcohol-consuming host monitors. There shall be at least one such host monitor for each 30 guests. Each academic year, the host monitors must demonstrate to the Director of Alcohol Policy Initiatives that they have been trained to handle emergency situations, are able to respond to alcohol-related medical concerns, can identify and intervene appropriately with overly intoxicated guests whether or not they require medical treatment, understand and are able to carry out preventive safety features regarding the controlled service of alcohol, and evidence a clear understanding of the University’s alcohol and drug policies. These host monitors must be identified prior to the event and must be visually identifiable (e.g. armband, t-shirt or other clear and uniform designation of host monitor status) during the event to those in attendance.**
3) With respect to training students and organizations on matters of alcohol and other substance abuse and hosting safer parties, Section III, Number 3 currently reads: “In order to promote responsible group behavior regarding alcohol use, each student organization having more than 10 members and recognized by DRIA, VPUL, OFSA, SAC, OSL or the College Houses must have at least one member, in addition to the organization’s leader or president, trained about alcohol abuse and able to provide referrals. Failure to meet this requirement could result in the loss of University recognition and/or support.”
**In order to promote responsible group behavior regarding alcohol use, each student organization, recognized by DRIA, VPUL, OFSA, SAC, OSL, the undergraduate schools, and/or the College Houses must fulfill the following expectations:
1. Each recognized organization having more than 10 members must have at least one member, in addition to the organization’s leader or president, trained to identify high-risk drinking and substance abuse within the membership (both individual and collective) and be able to provide appropriate referrals to education and counseling services.
2. Each recognized organization that intends to host registered events with alcohol (both on-campus and at Third Party Vendors), must design and implement an individualized plan to demonstrate competency in managing risk related to alcohol consumption. Such a plan would identify the methods through which the organization will control service of alcohol, promote moderate alcohol consumption, and respond to alcohol-related medical concerns. Each organization must specifically identify appropriate strategies for creating an environment in which alcohol use is secondary to the event itself and which emphasizes food and activities not related to alcohol so as to minimize the risk associated with its presence. A competency plan must be submitted to the Director of Alcohol Policy Initiatives and the appropriate umbrella organization for approval prior to the registration of the first event of each academic year.
Failure to meet or abide by either requirement could result in the loss of University recognition and/or support.
Organizations not officially recognized by the University are encouraged to undertake similar efforts to ensure that high-risk drinking and substance abuse are appropriately addressed within the informal group.**
We invite and look forward to your comments by February 15, 2005. Please send any comments or questions to Nancy Nicely in the Office of the Provost, email@example.com or (215) 898-7227.
—Alcohol Response Team
Click here for the Alcohol Response Team’s full report.
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 16, January 11, 2005