Note to Editors: Background information, broadcast-quality downloadable audio and video, and print-quality photographs from the announcement event will be available on the Web at about 3:30 p.m. today at www.president.colostate.edu/alcohol_task_force.
Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley announced today the implementation of actions in direct response to recommendations from the university’s Alcohol Task Force. Penley also appointed the President’s Alcohol Accountability Committee, which includes students, parents, community members and faculty, to monitor Colorado State’s ongoing commitment to following through on the work of the task force.
The Alcohol Task Force, led by Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, presented its recommendations in its final report to Penley on Feb. 1. Since then, university administrators have thoroughly evaluated and examined the recommendations in relation to potential impacts, resources needed and timing issues to ensure that each adopted recommendation has maximum positive results.
"In evaluating the task force recommendations, Colorado State University has placed the highest priority on promoting an environment throughout the university and at all university-related events that is safe, responsible, healthy and academically appropriate. We are focusing our efforts on where the problems lie and where Colorado State University can make the biggest impact," Penley said. "We believe these actions are a major step toward realistically yet effectively addressing the problem of alcohol abuse at Colorado State and on campuses throughout the nation."
Penley announced actions the university is undertaking focused in four areas:
– Enhancing student awareness of health and safety issues surrounding alcohol abuse.
– Significantly increasing communications with parents and families.
– Expanding community-based programs.
– Taking aggressive and specific actions relative to event management at Hughes Stadium.
See the attached fact sheets for additional information regarding the specific actions.
According to Penley, the university’s top priority is to enhance student awareness of health and safety issues surrounding alcohol use and abuse.
"Despite all that our campus has done in the past, there is more we can and must do," Penley said. "Colorado State University must take additional steps, per the task force recommendations, to educate students about the dangers of alcohol poisoning and abuse and to promote safe and healthy life choices."
To help address this priority, the university is:
– Implementing a comprehensive "social norms" campaign to increase awareness among students of the consequences associated with high-risk and illegal drinking and consequences of violations related to those actions. The campaign will also correct misperceptions that students and the public may have about high-risk or binge drinking.
– Developing and supporting a new student-led organization focusing primarily on alcohol-poisoning prevention. The group will include outreach teams that go into high schools and residence halls to educate students about alcohol and alcohol poisoning.
In addition to enhancing student awareness, the university is taking several steps to significantly increase communication and contact with parents as an additional effort to educate students and their families about the health, academic, legal and disciplinary issues regarding alcohol use and abuse. Among these efforts, Colorado State is:
– Developing several new programs and presentations that include educational information about alcohol use, abuse, prevention and treatment issues. These programs will be presented at a variety of student-family focused venues, including Preview for all incoming freshmen.
– Creating several new publications directed at parents and families that include alcohol related information and details about how parents can address such issues with their children.
– Increasing mailings to parents with information about alcohol-related issues, and enhancing electronic communications including a new monthly e-mail letter to parents focused on issues in the lives of students.
Penley also announced that the university will enhance community-based programs directed at student behavior in the Fort Collins community by:
– Funding a one-year pilot position for a local government liaison that will assist administration in maintaining strong ties with local governing entities, university administration and the Associated Students of Colorado State University, or ASCSU.
– Supporting RAMRide changes to improve the service for students and securing long-term funding.
– Strengthening the partnership between Colorado State and the city of Fort Collins in addressing off-campus housing issues related to student behavior.
– Supporting Greek initiatives, including creating graduate assistantships for oversight staffing in fraternity houses and establishing a seal of approval process that all chapters must meet or face disciplinary actions.
Penley also announced that 3.2 percent beer will be permitted to return to Hughes Stadium for the 2005-06 football season, but that several rules have changed in regard to tailgating to address the problems of binge drinking, to promote responsible student behavior and assure a family-oriented environment at the stadium.
"Colorado State University is not taking the easy way out by banning beer sales at Hughes Stadium and pretending that would solve the problem – it quite simply would not," Penley said. "We are instead focusing our efforts, based on a great amount of research and evaluation, on where the problems lie and where Colorado State University can make the biggest impact in promoting safe and healthy choices, responsible behavior and an academically appropriate environment."
The university is taking aggressive and specific actions relative to event management at Hughes Stadium to achieve the following goals.
– Assure a family-oriented and safe, fun environment for students during tailgaters outside the stadium.
– Encourage responsible behavior by students and all fans.
– Ensure appropriate disciplinary response when rules are violated.
– Promote a family-friendly environment within the stadium.
The following actions at Hughes will help ensure these goals.
– Substantially increase parking lot patrols at the stadium.
– Significantly increase parking lot lighting.
– Require all who drink at tailgates to obtain wrist bands from I.D. check booths indicating that they are 21 years of age or older.
– Ban all drinking games at the stadium and in the parking lot.
– Impose limitations on classes of alcohol at tailgaters to include only beer and wine.
– Prohibit backpacks from being brought into the stadium and limiting other containers to 12x12x12 inch soft-sided (these will be searched upon entry into the stadium).
– Emphasize that any violation of laws or university policies at Hughes Stadium will result in severe consequences that could include loss of game privileges, arrest or loss of season attendance privileges, depending on the severity of the infraction. Additional university disciplinary actions will also be taken against students who violate laws.
– Institute careful screenings at stadium entrances and limited pat downs and searches of all bags.
– Work with ASCSU to promote a family environment behavior and responsible student conduct.
– Create a student-focused marketing campaign to promote responsible behavior among students.
Penley added that the university will aggressively pursue appropriate disciplinary response when rules are violated. Any violation of laws or university policies at Hughes Stadium will result in severe consequences that could include loss of game privileges, arrest or loss of season attendance privileges, depending on the severity of the infraction. Additional university disciplinary actions will also be taken against students.
Finally, Penley announced the appointment of the President’s Alcohol Accountability Committee. The committee is charged with providing assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of Colorado State’s management of issues regarding student alcohol use and alcohol abuse. The committee will use as a guide the report and recommendations of the 2005 Alcohol Task Force.
Detailed Alcohol Task Force information is accessible for review and download on the Web at www.president.colostate.edu/alcohol_task_force.