We are pleased to accept the recommendations offered by the Alcohol Response Team (ART), following an extensive review of the University Alcohol and Drug Policy this fall. We wish to thank the student, faculty and staff members of the ART for their hard work and thoughtful recommendations.
During the “For Comment” period, we received constructive feedback from members of the community and have further clarified several aspects of the new policy including that host monitors must make every effort to be adequately trained to cope with high-risk drinking situations but will not bear a disproportionate responsibility for such situations; and that groups responsible for providing adequate training about alcohol use and abuse include all undergraduate groups and all undergraduate residential facilities.
We have also accepted the committee’s programmatic recommendations as detailed in the ART report of January 3, 2005 (www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v51/n16/art.html). To that end, the Provost’s office has, beginning in Fiscal Year 05-06, committed additional funding to expand peer-to-peer efforts including those coordinated by Team Sober and the Drug and Alcohol Response Team (DART). We share the committee’s view that empowering students to understand, influence and intervene in problematic drinking situations is the most effective way to change the culture on our campus to one in which high-risk drinking is curtailed.
We believe that the policy changes, combined with renewed programmatic efforts, will help make the campus social environment safer and encourage Penn students to work aggressively to discourage a culture of high-risk drinking.
—Amy Gutmann, President
—Peter Conn, Interim Provost, Chair, Alcohol Response Team
Changes to the University 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 changes to the Alcohol Policy appear below, preceded by the language from the current policy. The revised policy 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.”
FINAL 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 means that individual members of a host organization may not serve alcohol in their private rooms for the duration of registered events, even if those in the room are of legal drinking age.**
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.”
FINAL 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 a clear understanding of the University’s alcohol and drug policies and that they have participated in training or taken other steps to develop the ability to, wherever possible (1) handle emergency situations, (2) respond to alcohol-related medical concerns, (3) identify and intervene with overly intoxicated guests, whether or not they require medical treatment, (4) and carry out preventive safety measures regarding the controlled service of alcohol. 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.”
FINAL LANGUAGE: **In order to promote responsible group behavior regarding alcohol use, each undergraduate student organization, recognized by DRIA, VPUL, OFSA, SAC, OSL, the undergraduate schools, on-campus undergraduate residential facilities 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.**
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 23, March 1, 2005