Alcohol on Campus

November 27, 1998

Recently I wrote a commentary on drinking on college campuses, and I was encouraged to see two articles last week in USA Today dealing with college alcohol policies. It seems like some campuses are starting to address the issue of drinking in effective and creative ways. Here are just a few ways colleges are dealing with the problem.

The first way is parental notification. Congress passed a measure this year that says colleges may notify parents if their son or daughter is caught violating an alcohol policy. At the moment, colleges are not required to do so, and many are weighing the pros and cons.

A second way is through campus programs. Many colleges have awareness programs and initiatives through Drug Free Youth programs. Unfortunately these programs have to compete with posters and events on campuses that often promote drinking.

A third way to affect alcohol consumption on campuses is through the drinking age. Raising the drinking age to 21 doesn't stop underage drinking but it does reduce consumption in many areas and has been shown to reduce the number of drunk-driving accidents.

Alcohol bans have also been put into effect on some campuses. Some colleges are even trying to promote "alcohol-free" football games and campus events but often the greatest resistance comes from the alumni.

A fifth way to curb drinking is through enforcement and sanctions. Police are cracking down on underage drinking and toughening penalties. School administrations are also putting sanctions on institutions (like fraternities and sororities) that promote drinking.

A final way to deal with campus drinking is through peer support and education. Alcohol-free students need to exert peer pressure the other direction so that entering freshmen aren't enticed to drink. Taken together, these policies are starting to make a difference.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International