We have changed our name from the NEW TRADITION COALITION to DRAW THE LINE LAWRENCE so it better fits our purpose and mission. We call on all community members to come together and DRAW THE LINE on underage drinking and drug use for a healthier and safer place to live.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Important changes to KU alcohol policies

Marlesa Roney
Vice Provost for Student Success

May 5, 2009Contact: Jack Martin, University Communications, (785) 864-7100.
KU acts to curb student alcohol abuse
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will implement a parental notification program for alcohol and drug violations by students under 21 years of age, as well as several other initiatives aimed at educating students about the dangers of abusing alcohol and drugs. Among the changes will be a medical amnesty policy to encourage students to seek help for friends who are having alcohol-related emergencies.
The changes, designed to discourage underage and irresponsible drinking, are effective immediately, accelerated by two student deaths this spring in alcohol-related tragedies. Additional steps are under consideration for implementation before fall classes start.
“Even after students come to college, parents play a major role in their lives,” said Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success. “Studies indicate that parents continue to have more influence than anyone else over the behavior of their sons and daughters. By providing this notification, parents can be a key part of the process to encourage students to make responsible choices.”
Parents and/or legal guardians will be notified after the first known violation of university policy or state law regarding drugs, after the first violation involving alcohol that endangered the health or welfare of the student and/or another person, or after the second known violation of the university alcohol policy.
Notification will also be given following a drug or alcohol violation that results in the cancellation of a student’s housing contract, or if the student has been referred for a second-level alcohol assessment.
“It is my hope that students will not see this as punitive,” said Roney. “This is about using every tool available to help students take responsibility for their actions and to ensure their safety and well being. The University of Kansas wants to help students live up to those responsibilities by making sure their parents are involved in the discussion when students are having difficulties.”
KU also is implementing mandatory alcohol assessments for incoming students, effective with the fall 2009 semester.
“Some students come to college with pre-existing alcohol issues,” said Roney. “If we can identify those students and get them help at the start of their college careers, that may head off more serious problems down the road.”
Each student will be required to take an online assessment within six weeks of attending his or her first class at KU. Students whose responses indicate a high risk factor will be contacted by Student Health Services with resources and be required to participate in a follow-up program.
Another change is that KU will provide amnesty from alcohol-related university and student housing polices to students who seek immediate medical assistance for persons experiencing alcohol-related emergencies.
“We have heard from some students who are reluctant to get help for a friend who has had too much to drink because that student has been drinking, too, and they are afraid of being punished,” said Roney. “While that should never stop someone from getting help for a friend in trouble, removing the threat of being documented for a policy violation will eliminate this obstacle.”
These actions are the first round of a series of steps KU plans to take, with additional actions expected to be considered and announced in the coming weeks and months.
Additionally, because the problem of underage alcohol abuse is a societal one, a Community Alcohol Coalition has been formed to provide a community-wide response.
The coalition met April 28 and will continue to meet on a regular basis to develop and implement strategies to address alcohol issues in our community. Task force members include representatives from KU, local government and schools, law enforcement agencies, health care providers and establishments that serve alcohol.
Community Coalition Members:Marlesa A. Roney, chair, vice provost for Student Success, KUJeff Weinberg, assistant to the chancellor, KUJack Martin, deputy director, University Communications, KUDiana Robertson, director, Department of Student Housing, KUCarol Seager, director, Student Health Services, KURueben Perez, director, Student Involvement and Leadership Center, KULew Perkins, director, Kansas Athletics Inc.Malcolm Gibson, general manager, University Daily KansanRalph Oliver, chief, Public Safety Office, KUMason Heilman, student body president, KUGene Meyer, president, Lawrence Memorial HospitalDenise Darby-Haynes, director of prevention, Douglas County Citizens Committee on AlcoholismRon Olin, chief, Lawrence Police DepartmentRandy Weseman, superintendent, Lawrence Public SchoolsDave Corliss, city manager, LawrenceRob Chestnut, mayor, City of LawrenceSarah Jane Russell, director, GaDuGi SafeCenter, LawrencePhil Bradley, Kansas Licensed Beverage AssociationGavin Smith, Lawrence Bar Owner’s Association
KU offers a variety of programs encouraging safe and responsible use of alcohol, including SafeRide and SafeBus and numerous alcohol-free social events sponsored by Student Union Activities and other KU units, such as New Student Orientation activities during Hawk Week. New Student Orientation also features a session for students and parents titled Making Smart Choices, and Peer Health Educators are available through the Wellness Resource Center.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.
kunews@ku.edu (785) 864-3256 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

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