October 19, 2001
Susan Beasy Latto, UMD Public Relations Director (218) 726-8830
Alcohol Task Force on Student Drinking Releases Findings and Makes Recommendations
On Tuesday, October 22, 2001 on the UMD campus, Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin and Duluth Police Chief Scott Lyons made available the recommendations of the Alcohol Task Force on Student Drinking.
The formation of this task force of sixteen members came to be after the tragic death of a UMD student. The task force is comprised of UMD staff and students, Duluth Police Department and community experts.
The Alcohol Task Force established the goal of identifying policies and strategies that work to create a level of individual and group responsibility to reduce the level of alcohol-produced misconduct and consequently limit harm inflicted on individuals and neighborhoods.
A second goal is to seek out interventions that are preventative by their nature, not just reactive to misbehavior. In trying to determine ways to remedy the problem, the Task Force made it clear they would avoid taking on the nature of being anti-student. It is important that the majority of students feel the outcome of the Task Force's efforts is designed to advance their well being.
There is no question as to the commitment and seriousness the task force members brought to this effort. They perceive this reduction of alcohol induced misbehavior as a long-term effort. This is clear when noting the number one recommendation of the following summary of recommendations from the task force deals with keeping the alcohol task force in place for at least another year.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends that the committee, in its present form and membership, or revised, continue to function for at least another year.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends that an appropriate existing or newly appointed committee on each campus be designated to relate to the Alcohol Task Force.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends that representatives from the Multi-housing Association, City Attorney's Office, law enforcement, and Housing Access Center develop a set of model provisions for inclusion in leases that are likely to motivate lessees to control their behavior and the behavior of their guests.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends that police take the lead in planning and conducting at least two meetings in those neighborhoods with concentrations of students.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends that campus administrators, with the advice and assistance of recognized student leaders, evaluate how programs can be improved and implement better offerings.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends that development of a cadre of students to deliver educational messages to fellow students that promote a moderate use of alcohol.
- The Alcohol Task Force supports UMD's plan for restricted notifications of parents and recommends a study of its impact on student's behavior and other effects that are collateral to the implementation of the policy.
- The Alcohol Task Force foresees considerable value in implementation of an ordinance that limits the number of kegs to be in possession in Duluth and recommends development and employment of such legislation. However, a rigorous assessment of the impact of the law is essential, particularly negative consequences.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends the implementation of a norming effort, assuming a solid program can be devised on all three campuses. Students can play a major role in delivering an effective message.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends use by police of pre-party intervention as a deterrent to house parties becoming dangerous and illegal drunken functions.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends those appropriate city regulatory agencies organize themselves to target violations at chronically offending houses with the goal of motivating compliance with laws and codes, and thereby reducing misconduct.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends a study to determine success of various sentencing options and explore creative sentencing alternatives, for example, use of peers as part of the program.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends periodic meetings with police and students to create a sense of mutuality in working toward the objective of sensible drinking practices.
- The Alcohol Task Force urges city planners to consider and plan a site for college students that would be attractive to them.
- The Alcohol Task Force recommends establishing an evaluation and research unit at UMD to monitor the problem, access the effects of new policies, and introduce promising ideas being developed elsewhere.
Police Chief Scott Lyons attended every meeting and was "fully engaged" according to co-chairman Bruce Gildseth, Vice Chancellor for Academic Support and Student Life. Gildseth and co-chairman Ken Schoen, Retired Director of the University of Minnesota Law School Institute on Criminal Justice thanked the members of their task force committee for their dedication to the task. They also singled out Chancellor Martin for her insights and leadership. In closing Martin quoted from the task force report: "From the outset the committee understood there was no silver-bullet solution......nonetheless, there are promising approaches and strategies that the committee identified."