FOR COMMENT by June 30, 1999
To the University Community:
On Monday, April 26, I received the final report of the Working Group
on Alcohol Abuse which began its work on March 30.
I am grateful for the enormous amount of time and thoughtful consideration
that the members of the Working Group put into this report in order to have
it ready for campus comment before the end of the term.
Their intensive and careful deliberations have yielded recommendations
for a comprehensive approach to alcohol abuse intended to strengthen efforts
to encourage responsible decisions about alcohol; promote safe, healthy,
and legal patterns of social interaction; and create a significant change
in campus culture. The analysis and recommendations of the Working Group
merit your careful attention and input.
I am calling for comment as the next phase in the consultation process.
In order to ensure that you have time to deliberate, we have established
a lengthy period--until June 30--for comments. Please respond to www.upenn.edu/alcohol or write to me
directly at email@example.com.
I will also be contacting the leaders of several campus organizations
during the comment period to solicit further input.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Judith Rodin, President
a Supportive Environment | Responsibility
& Accountability | Minimizing
Risk | Expanded
Social Options | Recommendation
for Immediate Implementation
Final Report of the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse
The Working Group on Alcohol Abuse was formed by President Judith Rodin
and Provost Robert Barchi in response to a number of serious alcohol-related
incidents involving Penn students and the death of a Penn alumnus on March
21, 1999. The Working Group of 15 students and 7 faculty members and administrators
was charged by President Rodin on March 30, 1999. The President asked the
group to develop practical, substantive recommendations regarding alcohol
abuse among Penn undergraduates on both individual and community levels.
The Working Group and its subcommittees met intensively for five weeks.
Its members determined that their work should focus on alcohol abuse,
not use, and that their goal would be to produce recommendations that would
effect significant cultural change among Penn undergraduates. They agreed
that the University already has in place reasonable regulations governing
appropriate use of alcohol on campus but that the current system of enforcement
presents a number of problems, which perpetuate a sense of entitlement felt
by Penn students and lead to additional problems. The Group concluded that
stricter enforcement of current policies is needed, designed with the intention
of creating a change in attitudes regarding acceptable behavior. Consistency
should be the ultimate aim; uncertainty regarding what is acceptable and
what is not contributes to the problems associated with alcohol abuse and
with problematic behavior that often results from excessive drinking.
The Group quickly determined that the problem of alcohol abuse is not
confined to the Greek system and that a more comprehensive approach to the
problem is necessary. The Working Group strongly agreed that the primary
responsibility for changing perceptions, misperceptions and, ultimately,
behavior relating to alcohol abuse rests with individual students and student
groups. The Working Group considered ways to prevent alcohol abuse in the
context of Education; Ensuring a Supportive Environment; Responsibility/Accountability;
Minimizing Risk; and Expanded Social Options. The Working Group strongly
agreed that its recommendations should be proactive rather than punitive.
Health education is a crucial part of a successful strategy to prevent
alcohol abuse. Education eradicates misperceptions about alcohol use among
peers, creates opportunities for open, honest dialogue about alcohol use
and abuse, and is critical to creating a change in campus culture. Recommended
approaches to health education are to:
- Establish effective primary and secondary prevention methods. Primary
refers to those efforts that are designed to reach individuals/groups before
they engage in "at-risk" behaviors. Secondary refers to those
efforts that are designed to reach individuals/groups after they have engaged
in "at-risk" behaviors, but before a pattern of usage has developed.
- Ensure that every Penn student and parent or guardian receives alcohol
health education from multiple sources when students are pre-freshmen (e.g.,
send the Alcohol 101 CD-ROM the summer before they arrive at Penn), during
New Student Orientation (e.g., follow up with group discussions of the
Alcohol 101 CD), and in each year of their undergraduate education.
- Create more opportunities for students to "Speak Out" if
they have had adverse experiences with alcohol abuse and want to share
those experiences with their peers in public meetings, through websites
and in other formats.
- Create a student-driven social marketing campaign to correct student
mis-perceptions about alcohol use and abuse, based on a survey of prior
experiences at peer institutions.
- Identify all existing University areas where alcohol education takes
place, effectively market those areas, and ensure that those areas collaborate
- Develop "Healthlinks" as a liaison to health services and
information as part of the WHEEL program in the College Houses.
- Create opportunities for curricular integration of alcohol issues in
each of the undergraduate schools.
- Support increased peer education efforts through DART and similar organizations,
and expand initiatives such as the Greek Alcohol Education program to other
- Provide additional resources and/or personnel for the Office of Health
- Utilize available resources like the Higher Education Center for Alcohol
and Other Drug Prevention, which provide support for campuses throughout
- Establish Penn 101 as a freshman seminar. Penn 101 would provide an
innovative approach to dealing with the freshman experience in a practical,
discussion-oriented setting, as well as with formulaic scholarly discussion
of relevant topics like alcohol and other drug use/abuse. Undergraduate
social men-tors would act as teaching assistants to faculty members and
facilitate conversation through a group listserv prior to the students'
arrival at Penn.
Ensuring a Supportive Environment
In order to inspire cultural change that will help reduce alcohol abuse,
students must feel that they are supported by the University, are encouraged
to take responsible actions and are understood to be critical stakeholders
in the consultative process. Recommendations to achieve that end include:
1. A student seeking alcohol-related medical assistance and/or a friend
that accompanies him/her should not receive a citation. In addition, to
ensure that students will not hesitate to seek medical assistance when necessary,
the University policy must be clearly written and well publicized.
The Alcohol and Drug policy from The Pennbook page 23, section
C, should be modified as follows:
"In cases of intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning, the primary
concern is the health and safety of the individual(s) involved. Individuals
are strongly encouraged to call for medical assistance for themselves or
for a friend/acquaintance who is dangerously intoxicated. No student
seeking medical treatment for an alcohol or other drug-related overdose
will be subject to University discipline for the sole violation of using
or possessing alcohol or drugs. This policy shall extend to another student
seeking help for the intoxicated student."
2. To consolidate the education, counseling, and treatment of alcohol
related issues, the position of Alcohol Coordinator should be created. This
position should provide a confidential source to address all areas of concern
related to alcohol and other drugs, to integrate policy and to enhance approaches
to student education and treatment of alcohol-related problems. The Coordinator
should also consult with the University police, discipline officers, HUP's
ER, Student Health and CAPS about the effective integration of relevant
policies, enforcement and education.
3. The role of faculty and staff must be reevaluated to ensure the student/faculty/staff
relationship is not jeopardized. The primary responsibility of faculty and
staff should be toward helping students rather than policing them, specifically
in alcohol related situations. Our College Houses, as well as our classrooms,
must allow flexible solutions that will not compromise faculty, staff and
4. A standing Alcohol Rapid Response Team should be constituted to advise
the President and Provost on outstanding aspects of implementation that
remain, with issues of interpretation of intent, and with any urgent, new
issues related to alcohol abuse as they may arise. The Alcohol Rapid Response
Team may coordinate its efforts or seek advice from the existing University
Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force and from other relevant constituencies
Responsibility and Accountability
Individual Responsibility and Accountability
With the understanding that alcohol education will be ongoing, and that
forums encouraging dialogue among Penn students will be more available and
more widely attended, the University must reinforce its commitment to the
- Recognition that the primary concern in this area, as in all others,
is for the health and welfare of our students and the University community.
- Acceptance and enforcement of University regulations regarding alcohol
use on campus and support for full enforcement of local, state and federal
regulations on and off-campus.
- Assurance that violations of these regulations will result in adverse
consequences consistent with policies of the University and its disciplinary
processes. The University will also support enforcement of all relevant
local, state and federal laws.
- Adverse consequences will be consistent and specific and should appropriately
escalate for students who repeatedly violate University regulations.
- Counseling and education will go hand-in-hand with adverse consequences
in the context of alcohol violations. Both should escalate simultaneously
with adverse consequences for students who repeatedly violate University
- A personal responsibility statement should be developed that students
would sign prior to their matriculation at Penn.
Group Responsibility and Accountability
While the decision to use alcohol is ultimately an individual one, we
rec-ognize that the providers of alcohol must share responsibility for the
problem and for the need to change their practices if an important change
in campus culture is to occur. With this in mind, the working group recommends
- All organizations hosting alcohol-related events, either registered
or unregistered, recognize their explicit and collective responsibility
for violations of University alcohol policy or of local, state or federal
laws that take place at, or as a consequence of, their events.
- Each student organization having more than 10 members and recognized
by DRIA, OFSA, SAC, OSL or the College Houses will have at least one member,
in addition to the organization's leader or president, educated with regard
to alcohol abuse policy and able to provide referrals. Failure to meet
this requirement could lead to a loss of University recognition.
- All violations of alcohol policy during a sponsored event will result
in appropriate censure of the sponsoring organization. The current violation
review system should be reorganized to create a definitive hierarchy involving
the IFC, OFSA, OSC, CHAS, and Residential Violations Review Board.
- University alcohol regulations apply to group and individual behavior
at both on- and off-campus, registered and non-registered events, in addition
to any local, state or federal laws that may be applicable.
- Students will be encouraged to develop creative ways to congregate
without alcohol, which could range from parties with live music to movie
nights to cultural events in West Philadelphia and Center City, for example.
Organizations should apply to VPUL for supplemental funding for such events.
The goal of policies regarding alcohol abuse is to encourage students
to make responsible decisions about the use of alcohol, to control the volume
and nature of alcohol products available and, ultimately, to reduce the
risk of alcohol-related incidents that pose a threat to the health and welfare
of students and colleagues.
- Through further discussions with students and faculty leaders, the
definition of a registered undergraduate event should be clarified and
- Hard alcohol will be banned at all registered on-campus undergraduate
events. Hard alcohol will be allowed only at third-party vendor events,
placing hard alcohol with its relatively higher- risk potential in a lower-risk
- Alcohol distribution at all registered undergraduate events will end
at 1 a.m.; events may continue until the currently mandated 2 a.m. closing
time. Both host and University monitors will share responsibility for enforcing
- In order to reduce the risk of excess available alcohol, the University
will adopt a BYOB policy to be enforced for all on-campus registered undergraduate
alcohol-related events. Personal limit will be one six-pack of beer or
equivalent per person over 21 years of age. Organization members may personally
pre-purchase alcoholic beverages at the same limit of one six-pack of beer
or equivalent per of-age member.
- For all registered events, either on-campus or off-campus, bartenders
will be external to the host organization and at least 21 years of age.
The University will develop and support a mechanism for providing an adequate
number of trained individuals.
- All registered events will require non-alcohol consuming monitors identified
by the host organization, in a ratio of 1:50 to total expected guests.
Monitors must be registered prior to the event. The host monitors should
be easily identifiable by event participants and should be primarily concerned
with circumstances that might have an impact on health and safety.
- The policy of roving University-appointed monitors will be extended
to include all registered on-campus events, with at least one trained University
monitor per registered event. The University will develop mechanisms for
training and providing monitors.
- The University will support the enforcement of all University, local,
state and federal policies and laws by retail and wholesale distributers
of alcohol on or near campus.
- The current Third Party Vendor agreement (modified if appropriate),
will be mandatory and strictly enforced for all registered Third Party
Expanded Social Options
In order to help shape a new campus culture, Penn students must lead
the way and work closely with University faculty and staff to help create
more varied social options. These options should not be seen as "alternatives"
to drinking, but rather as intrinsically appealing options for socializing.
- Late night, weekend and early morning programs should be expanded to
offer more and varied social events throughout the week, particularly from
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Social options on and near campus should be increased such as movies,
bowling, pool halls and a videostore that remain open until 2 a.m.
- Retailers like Eat at Joe's that are open past 2 a.m. should be cultivated
to provide late-night social options every night of the week. On-campus
restaurants should serve food to any student, regardless of age, throughout
their evening open restaurant hours.
- A late-night, alcohol-free music club should be established on or near
- Late-night intramural athletic and recreation opportunities should
- Intercollegiate recreational and athletic events should be aggressively
marketed to increase student attendance.
- The University should facilitate greater collaboration with the City
of Philadelphia, utilizing programs such as the new "Penn and Philadelphia"
initiative. These programs serve to better market the City of Philadelphia's
cultural and social options to Penn students and to make available better
information about city services such as SEPTA.
- The University should be strategically creative as it plans the comprehensive
renovation of the College House system. Plans should include the creation
of add-itional recreation space and common spaces that can be utilized
for coffee houses, pool halls, music rooms, or other spaces that can remain
open until at least 2 a.m.
- A marketing strategy should be developed to promote the Perelman Quadrangle
and other student facilities as a focus of student activity.
Recommendation for Immediate Implementation
The Working Group on Alcohol Abuse strongly recommends that a WGAA Action
Team be formed as soon as these recommendations have been reviewed and accepted
by the President in order to move forward with implementation on those items
that can be put into place by the new academic year.
The Working Group on Alcohol Abuse submits its recommendations to President
Rodin on April 26, 1999.
- Robert Barchi, Provost (Chair)
- Richard Adzei, Vice President, Big-C
- Samara Barend, Chairperson, Committee for Tangible Change
- Michael Bassik, Treasurer, UA
- Herman Beavers, Director, Afro-American Studies, Associate Professor,
- David Brownlee, Director, Office of College Houses and Academic
Services, Faculty Master, Harnwell College House, Professor, History of
- Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, Vice Provost for University Life
- Peter Conn, Chair-Elect, Faculty Senate, Faculty Director, Civic
House, Professor, English
- Bill Conway, Chairperson, UA
- Andrew Exum, Executive Vice President, IFC
- Steven Fechheimer, IFC Judicial Manager
- Elizabeth Gesas, Freshman, Goldberg College House
- Michele Goldfarb, Director, Office of Student Conduct
- Rebecca Iverson, President, Panhel
- Michael Kraver, Former President, SAM
- Megan MacDonald, President, DART
- Mark Metzl, President, IFC
- Philip Nichols, Faculty Master, Stouffer College House, Associate
Professor, Legal Studies
- Melanie Redmond, House Manager, DuBois College House
- Jed Ryan, Member, Penn Drinking Project, Tri-Captain, Men's Basketball
- Jeffrey Snyder, Former VP for Rush, IFC. Former President, Phi Kappa
- Sanjay Udani, Member, GAPSA
- Jennifer Baldino, Director of External Affairs, Office of the President
- Nancy Nowicki, Executive Director of External Affairs, Office of
a Supportive Environment | Responsibility
& Accountability | Minimizing
Risk | Expanded
Social Options | Recommendation
for Immediate Implementation
BACK TO BETWEEN ISSUES ARCHIVE
TO ALMANAC HOME PAGE
TO PENN NEWSPAGE