Thursday January 5, 2006

Fighting Alcohol Abuse

The University of Dayton has adopted stronger penalties for alcohol violations on campus.

Starting this semester, University of Dayton students with three alcohol abuse violations will be suspended for one year, losing the privilege to attend classes or live in UD housing. On a first offense, students who drive while intoxicated will permanently lose parking and driving privileges on campus, and a second offense will lead to suspension.

This is all part of revised recommended sanctions in an alcohol abuse policy approved by UD's Student Life Council, a 24-member advisory group comprising faculty and staff representatives and a dozen students.

"We're signaling to students that alcohol abuse doesn't have a place on our campus, and we're putting more teeth into the consequences," said Scott Markland, assistant dean of students. "We're also taking a stronger stance on driving under the influence."

The policy defines alcohol abuse as property destruction, violent or abusive behavior, loss of motor control or loss of consciousness. First and second offenses carry penalties of participation in a substance-abuse program, fines, restitution, probation and a letter home to parents if the students are younger than 21 years old.

"The students (on the Student Life Council) were predominantly in favor of the policy because it reflects our Marianist traditions and values," said Drew Navolio, president of the Student Government Association.

In August, the University of Dayton and seven local taverns formalized an agreement about alcohol sales and service aimed at reducing underage drinking and problems associated with alcohol abuse. All first-year students took a mandatory online alcohol education course before classes started in the fall. A campus alcohol coalition of 100 faculty, staff, students and community members are addressing issues such as substance-free activities, educational interventions, sales, distribution, policies, enforcement, assessment and communication.

"We've adopted a long-term commitment to providing a healthy and safe campus environment," Markland said.

Contact Scott Markland at (937) 229-2229.