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Wednesday, May 24, 2006
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University announces comprehensive strategy to reduce high-risk drinking

ATHENS, Ohio (May 24, 2006) -- After gaining broad-based campus and community input and support, Ohio University announced today its enhanced comprehensive strategy to reduce high-risk drinking. The university will move ahead to convene a committee with constituents from across campus to make recommendations for implementation of the various components of the overall strategy. The changes to policy and practices on campus will become effective fall quarter 2006.

"The development of this comprehensive strategy is the result of a communitywide effort that engaged faculty, staff, administrators, students, and Athens community members and leaders," Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis said. "All members of our community must lead by example and exercise personal and civic responsibility. In order to promote personal and civic responsibility, we must establish a set of realistic expectations, increase opportunities for engagement, and define consistent disciplinary actions." 

The comprehensive strategy involves eight major areas of focus: discipline, intervention, communication, law enforcement, positive student engagement, community development, assessment and implementation. (See the accompanying document for detailed information about the changes.)

"The implementation of this strategy will have a positive impact on the student culture at Ohio University," said Richard Carpinelli, interim vice president for Student Affairs. "We will strengthen our disciplinary actions by taking approaches by expanding parental notification and suspending students who violate probation, but we will also take positive actions such as enhancing opportunities for student learning and growth, increasing late-night student activities, and enlisting the support of alumni."

The university will begin educating current students about the new alcohol policies immediately, and new students to the university will learn about them during pre-college orientation sessions this summer.

The new strategy to reduce high-risk drinking is drawn from recommendations from two groups: the Coalition Advocating Responsible Drinking Decisions, which has existed since 1996 and includes faculty, staff, students and community members; and the Alcohol Response Protocol Task Force, a group assembled in 2005 to help develop recommended approaches to reduce high-risk drinking.

The recommendations were shared with a variety of groups for review and feedback winter quarter 2006. Groups providing feedback included Student Senate's Special Committee on Alcohol Response, the Ohio University Code of Conduct Review and Standards Committee, the Athens City/Ohio University Joint Committee on Civic Responsibility, the Residence Life Councils, and the Council of Student Leaders. Additionally, more than 150 members of the university and Athens communities provided feedback during the campus-wide Day of Dialogue held in February.

"The dialogue among our community members will not stop after the strategies are put in place," McDavis said. "We will continue to refine our efforts to promote personal and civic responsibility at Ohio University."

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu, or Media Relations Coordinator Jessica Stark (740) 597-2938 or starkj@ohio.edu

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