TRUSTEE STUDENT LIFE, HEALTH AND ATHLETICS COMMITTEE
REPORT ON THE TRUSTEE INITIATIVE
ON ALCOHOL ABUSE
Alcohol abuse presents a severe health and behavioral problem for Princeton and institutions of higher education nationwide. Alcohol abuse limits students' ability to take full advantage of the academic, social, and cultural opportunities that Princeton offers. Excessive drinking is not only a short-term, high-risk behavior, but it has serious long-term consequences for the individual's intellectual, social, and emotional development. In addition, actions of those who abuse alcohol have a detrimental impact on others in the community, creating a "secondhand effect," ranging in severity from common annoyances to vandalism and assaults, that can pose a threat to the sense of community so central to the University's ability to fulfill its educational mission. The freedom to teach and to learn depends on respect for the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of others, and these conditions are undermined by the effects of alcohol abuse. Verbal and physical abuse of others, property damage, and unreasonable burdens on staff are consequences of excessive drinking that seriously erode the quality of life.
Alcohol abuse is the product of a combination of wide-ranging social factors. No single institution can succeed in eliminating alcohol abuse. Nonetheless, it must be addressed campus-by-campus. Princeton, with some success, has made repeated efforts to address the problem, but much more remains to be done. In the spring of 1998, the Trustees announced a Trustee Initiative on Alcohol Abuse, calling on the entire Princeton University community -- students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, parents, and others -- to join with the Trustees in developing a broad-based action plan to reduce alcohol abuse at Princeton. (A copy of the initiative is attached.) The initiative grew out of a year-long study of patterns of alcohol use and abuse at Princeton and elsewhere by a special subcommittee of the Student Life, Health and Athletics Committee, led by Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren. The primary purposes of the initiative were to focus the attention of the University community on alcohol abuse and to involve the entire community in addressing this concern.
The Trustees charged the Committee on Student Life, Health and Athletics with oversight of the initiative and, in particular, with development of an action plan. At the September and November 1998 Board meetings, the Committee met with more than twenty groups and University departments to communicate with them about the initiative, to seek their support, and to request specific action plans from each group by December. The report that follows is a compilation of these proposals.
The Committee wishes to record here its appreciation to all those who participated in these meetings or who in other ways contributed to the action plans. The Committee was impressed by the seriousness with which members of the community accepted the challenge to address alcohol abuse, by the evident amount of time and thought that many have given to these issues, and by the quality of the ideas that were offered. The responses from various groups and individuals across the community showed that members of the Princeton community recognize the problem of alcohol abuse on this campus and embrace the initiative. Much progress has been made; constructive efforts are visible in every quarter. The Committee realizes that addressing the problem of alcohol abuse is a long-term challenge. Many of the causes of alcohol abuse are related to ingrained sociological patterns as well as campus culture, and great time and effort will be required in order to change the elements of Princeton life that seem to encourage alcohol abuse. The Committee intends to continue its oversight of the Trustee initiative, making monitoring the effectiveness of these proposals a regular part of its work. Throughout their meetings with campus groups, members of the Committee were struck by the sense of community that the initiative engendered and wish to emphasize the mutuality of the endeavor on which the University now embarks as we put into action the proposals that follow.
This report places the initiative in the broader context of alcohol abuse on college campuses throughout the nation. It describes briefly the process and procedures adopted by the Committee to carry out the initiative. The action plan proposed by the Committee in this report is a compilation of more than eighty distinct proposals for addressing alcohol abuse that have come from individuals, student groups, University departments, and organizations of the broader campus community. As the trustees requested, those who submitted proposals did so focusing on their own areas of responsibility or groups and constituencies with whom they work, so the proposals often focus on specific University groups (first- and second-year students, members of eating clubs, student organizations, athletic teams, parents, discipline committees, etc.). In their totality, however, these proposals are intended to cover the wide range of groups in the community whose participation is key to addressing alcohol abuse.
Since 1993 Princeton has participated in a nationwide study of alcohol use through the Core Survey.*[see footnote at end of file] Findings of the 1998 survey, the most recent and the third in the series, remain consistent with earlier studies. The key findings serve as a snapshot of alcohol use at the University:
- More than half of our students used alcohol before they entered the University. Another twenty-five percent drank alcohol by the end of their first year. Fifty-seven percent of our first-year students reported increased drinking after arriving here.
- Forty-three percent of Princeton undergraduates reported binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to the survey. Binge drinkers are defined as those who, over a specified two-week period, have had at least five drinks in one sitting.
- Nine percent of Princeton undergraduates reported patterns of alcohol use that suggest that they are problem drinkers.
- Ninety-eight percent of those in the study believed that the social atmosphere at this University promotes alcohol use.
Alcohol abuse is involved in essentially all serious instances of physical violence and sexual abuse that occur on campus. Data from these Core Surveys and aggregate data from University Health Services show that binge drinking has a negative impact on academic performance, on personal health and safety, and on interpersonal relationships, although it is also true that the vast majority of our students graduate in four consecutive years, maintain acceptable grade-point averages, make lasting friendships, and go on to high-achieving careers.
The patterns identified in the Core Surveys at Princeton are similar to those at virtually all other colleges and universities surveyed (approximately 1,100 colleges and universities have used the Core Survey since 1989). For example, in the past five years national surveys of American college students found that approximately forty-four percent actively engage in binge drinking -- virtually the same percentage as at Princeton. The Princeton Trustee Initiative on Alcohol Abuse was already underway when intense public attention was focused on campus alcohol abuse following highly publicized deaths and other serious evidence of excessive alcohol consumption by students at a number of institutions in this geographic area, in other Ivy League institutions and in other colleges and universities (including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Virginia, Louisiana State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Rutgers, Stanford, and Cornell Universities). Other institutions, such as the University of Virginia, have begun initiatives similar to Princeton's to seek ways to address alcohol abuse, and heads of other institutions, such as the President of Washington and Lee University and the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have publicly written to urge changing a national campus culture that persistently fosters campus drinking. The federal higher education amendments of 1998 include provisions that relate to alcohol abuse, such as a non-binding "Sense of Congress" provision that suggests several initiatives for institutions of higher education "in an effort to change the culture of alcohol consumption on college campuses."
The work of the Committee
The Committee believed that engaging members of the University community in the development of proposals to address alcohol abuse was an important part of their charge. In May 1998 and last fall, the Trustee Initiative on Alcohol Abuse was promulgated broadly to the campus and alumni community through the campus and alumni press and communications from the dean of student life. The Committee met with all University constituencies who -- by nature of who they are or what they do -- could have an impact on patterns of alcohol use, to enlist their creativity, good will, and energy.
Meetings began in the summer of 1998 and continued through March 1999. A list of offices and organizations with whom the Committee met (and as they were grouped for meetings) follows:
- Committee on Discipline, the Residential College Disciplinary Board, Public Safety
- Health Services and Religious Life
- Department of Athletics
- Faculty and academic administration: dean of the faculty, dean of the college and her staff, directors of studies
- Residential Colleges: masters, assistant masters, resident and minority affairs advisers
- Eating clubs: InterClub Council, Graduate InterClub Council, and other interested members
- Communications: Princeton Weekly Bulletin, Princeton Alumni Weekly, and student publications (The Daily Princetonian, Nassau Weekly, Progressive Review, Vigil, Spectator, and Tory)
- Alumni Office and parents groups
- Students: Undergraduate Student Government, class officers, college councils
- Students: student organizations, agencies, fraternities and sororities
- Students: Varsity Athlete Advisory Committee, team captains, club sport leaders
- Undergraduate Life Committees and Public Safety
The dean of student life circulated information to each group prior to the meeting explaining the Trustee initiative, and, on behalf of the Committee, asked the group to come prepared to discuss the following questions:
- What are you currently doing to curb the misuse of alcohol at Princeton?
- What other step(s) can you take?
- What resources do you need to take these additional steps?
- When will you be able to put these new measures in place?
- How will you monitor their effectiveness?
Meetings began with a general introduction of the purpose of the Trustee initiative, and a reminder that the Trustees were interested not only in addressing alcohol abuse and helping those students who abuse alcohol, but also in changing campus climate and the "second-hand effects" of alcohol abuse on the educational environment and on members of the community. The Committee requested each group to propose steps it would take to address issues of alcohol abuse and submit them by December 1. The Committee discussed the proposals at its January meeting and shared some preliminary observations with the Board. The Committee responded to each group through the dean of student life, encouraged the implementation of some of the proposals while asking for further thought and elaboration on others, and requested an update on those efforts by April 2. In March, the Committee invited student leaders (the USG, the ICC, fraternities and sororities, etc.) for a second discussion and exploration of other ideas or possibilities.
Summary of the proposals
Nearly all the organizations and groups with whom the Committee met in the fall submitted proposals. Although there was frequent overlap, the proposals have tended to fall into three categories: "education and communication," "campus culture and social climate," and "policy and enforcement." Proposals that have already been implemented or will be implemented during the fall of 1999 are listed below, according to the group, organization, or University department that submitted them to the Committee. The sections in italics include new information or outline efforts already undertaken since the proposals were first submitted to the Committee in December 1998.
Education and communication
1. Alcohol issues will be a mandatory discussion item at residential college core-group meetings. Discussions regarding alcohol issues have already begun in residential college core-group meetings.
2. The residential colleges will implement an additional training session on alcohol issues for advisers during the semester. The masters are working with an assistant dean of student life to add an additional session on alcohol issues (interactive, scenario-based) to the fall adviser training.
3. A pilot program will be implemented next fall in Wilson College. The program, based on the research of Professors Miller and Prentice on pluralistic ignorance at Princeton and on the research of Professor Wechsler at Harvard, will focus on issues of alcohol education.
Campus culture and social climate
4. The college masters will sponsor a number of activities in the colleges that require additional funding: a film series, an enhanced speakers program, trips, bands, and social events.
5. The college masters will convene a cross-college working group to develop a year-long program of activities in the five colleges (parties, speakers, seminars, dinners, etc.); the program -- which will require additional funding -- will focus primarily on late-night activities, Thursday through Saturday. Masters Centeno and Champlin will convene the cross-college working group. Initial discussion suggests that the colleges will plan ten major events, open to students from all colleges, i.e., each college will sponsor one major event once each semester.
Policy and enforcement
6. The college masters will communicate clearly and forcefully the job responsibilities of the RAs and MAAs regarding alcohol. The masters have developed a common written text to communicate explicitly to all advisers what is expected of them regarding alcohol and it appears in the adviser handbook.
7. The college masters will initiate discussions between Public Safety and the colleges to explore ways in which they can collaborate to ensure effective, more consistent enforcement of policies. An initial meeting of college masters, directors of studies, deans, and the director of Public Safety took place in May.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY
Education and communication
1. The dean will write to the faculty as a whole to remind them of their responsibilities when hosting departmental events that may include the serving of alcohol. Faculty members with whom the Committee met in the fall did not represent an already-constituted committee or group; rather, they were individuals who over the years have expressed an interest in student life and the University's approach to alcohol issues. The dean of the faculty is considering the possibility of enlisting the assistance of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy as SLH&A's connection to the faculty for the alcohol initiative. This group has diverse representation across disciplines and the ranks of the faculty; it provides the President advice and consultation on a variety of issues; moreover, it represents a direct connection to the Council of the Princeton University Community since its members serve on the Council's Executive Committee.
DEPARTMENT OF ATHLETICS
Education and communication
1. The Department of Athletics will participate in educational efforts implemented by the dean of student life and the director of athletic medicine and will encourage student athletes to participate in programs and other presentations that address alcohol abuse and eating disorders. In early February, Athletics and Health Services co-sponsored a presentation on nutritional topics for a hundred female student-athletes. The program emphasized the adverse effects that alcohol consumption has on athletic performance.
2. The Athletics Department will encourage athletic trainers to use every opportunity to talk to teams and individual students about the adverse consequences of alcohol on athletic performance.
3. The round-table sessions during the Freshman Student-Athlete Orientation will include discussion of academic responsibilities, athletes as role models, responsible decision-making, and social issues on campus.
4. Coaches and captains will receive educational materials on alcohol issues so that they can better inform their teams of the physical, personal, and social effects and consequences of alcohol use and abuse.
5. Team captains will assume a "speaking role" with their teams and a larger role in addressing the issue of alcohol on campus.
6. Captains will approach students who abuse alcohol or whose behavior negatively affects the team. At a meeting in the fall of the Varsity Athlete Advisory Committee with captains of all varsity teams, proposals 4, 5, and 6 listed here were discussed.
7. An e-mail list will be created to encourage communication between the captains and the Advisory Committee.
8. Alcohol issues will also be discussed regularly at the Club Sports Council. Alcohol issues were already part of the Council's agenda at its March meeting and will be regularly included in the future.
Campus culture and social climate
9. Coaches will encourage their teams to avoid excessive drinking and to demonstrate responsible behavior during those times when athletes are more likely to engage in group drinking (important victories, last game of the season, etc.).
10. All teams will establish a buddy system to encourage responsible behaviors. Captains will work with teams to avoid negative group dynamics that may encourage drinking during more vulnerable times (end-of-season games, etc.). At a meeting in the fall of 1998 the Varsity Athlete Advisory Committee with captains of all varsity teams, proposals 9 and 10 listed here were discussed.
11. The Athletics Department will help teams exercise peer pressure to modify behaviors positively and influence responsible choices on and off the field.
12. The department, which is a member of the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), will continue to use the NIRSA Natural High Program in developing attractive recreational programs.
13. The department will encourage the residential colleges, the eating clubs, and other student organizations to develop special late-night programs at Dillon Gym for specific groups or all undergraduates. In March, the associate director of athletics for physical education, recreation, and club sports wrote to intramural managers in the residential colleges and the eating clubs inviting them to organize late night programs in Dillon and suggesting willingness to adjust Dillon's schedule to accommodate occasional late-night programming.
14. Regarding club sports, the department will dedicate a section of the manual to alcohol issues and will encourage late evening or early morning practices or games, as well as late night speakers on club sports issues. The manual now includes an Alcohol Action Plan under the purview of the Club Sports Council.
Policy and enforcement
15. The Athletics Department will continue to work closely with Office of Student Life regarding discipline issues. Staff members will meet regularly with the associate dean of student life to discuss discipline infractions involving athletes so that the coaches can be duly informed and can take appropriate action.
16. Coaches will develop a "plan for action," outlining efforts (education, policies, discipline, "best practices") to address alcohol issues with their teams and to engage captains and team members in dialog about alcohol use. Coaches of spring sports were requested to submit and implement a "plan for action." While there are some differences, most of them address areas of education, responsible behavior, good citizenship, peer pressure, training rules, accountability, and disciplinary action. This first effort has been successful and will soon include fall and winter sports.
17. The Athletics Department will meet with Public Safety to enhance communication between proctors and coaches. The director of Public Safety and members of his staff met with the coaches in early March and agreed that ongoing informal communication between proctors and coaches can promote responsible behaviors and alert coaches to potential problems.
18. Coaches will take precautions to ensure that recruits do not drink during campus visits. At three consecutive coaches' meetings in the spring, there was discussion of the responsibilities of student hosts, and coaches have started to establish specific guidelines and approaches to make sure all student hosts understand and abide by University and Athletics Department standards.
19. Coaches will take disciplinary action for unacceptable behaviors that result from alcohol abuse. Coaches have been asked to consult with the departmental administration before taking disciplinary action for violations of department or team alcohol policies to ensure an even-handed and consistent approach to sanctions imposed on student-athletes across teams. In addition, the Varsity Athletics Handbook describes University and departmental policies and standards regarding alcohol and hazing.
20. Club sports teams will be held accountable for infractions of departmental alcohol policies. University and departmental alcohol policies are now included in the Club Sports Manual.
Education and communication
1. Princeton University Health Services will develop a student-leader workshop on managing social and health issues related to substance abuse to be implemented next year. The director of health education convened in February a small group of Student Life administrators to plan the implementation of this program. They issued an invitation to representatives from the USG, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the ICC, fraternity and sorority leaders, and peer educators to participate in the definition of goals and objectives and the design of the program.
Campus culture and social climate
2. Health Services will lead the implementation of a professional social marketing campaign to address misperceptions about alcohol use on campus (i.e., who drinks? how often? how much? where?) and to change the widely held belief that campus culture at Princeton promotes drinking. Dean Montero has asked the director of communications, Mr. Justin Harmon, to lead a small working group of Student Life and Health Services staff in the design of the social marketing campaign. The group has invited the coordinator of health promotion at the University of Arizona to campus in order to learn about successful efforts at that institution and to explore how best to implement the media campaign at Princeton.
Campus culture and social climate
1. Religious Life will design a "rally for responsibility" to raise awareness and encourage responsible behaviors. This event, originally planned for April 1999 -- supported also by the USG, the Student Alcohol Peer Educators, officers from the Student Volunteers Council, and the Third World Center -- will be further explored next fall.
2. The cafés in Murray-Dodge and the Center for Jewish Life currently provide alcohol-free spaces and activities; Religious Life will enhance the programs of the two cafés with activities and entertainment that might attract a wider audience. A student from Mathey College, in collaboration with Religious Life, has developed a new organization, "Night Live" (an iteration of the earlier Harmony Club), which organizes a late-night, alcohol-free program every Friday evening from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. in the Murray-Dodge Café. Members experimented with different parties and dances this spring and might possibly expand their offerings to several evenings per week next year.
Education and communication
1. The Office of Student Life will find better ways to communicate University guidelines for holding parties.
2. The Office of Student Life will initiate a summer mailing to freshman parents informing them about the University alcohol policy, encouraging them to talk to their sons and daughters, and enlisting their help.
3. The Office of Student Life will collaborate with the Undergraduate Student Government to enhance the visibility of social events and will assist student groups and University offices in publicizing resources, programs, and activities designed to address alcohol issues, as well as in advertising non-alcoholic events. In addition, the Office of Student Life and the USG will work to improve the scheduling of events and to make better use of the common electronic calendar that the USG has established on the Web.
4. Outdoor Action will use the freshman trip as an opportunity to take advantage of the small-group format and provide information about alcohol and substance abuse. OA will develop an appropriate curriculum for this initiative in collaboration with other University departments.
5. OA leader training will include information about alcohol issues and will also emphasize that OA leaders serve as role models in this matter through their outdoor leadership activities. The director of Outdoor Action has started to explore training options for the freshman trip OA leaders and is collaborating with Health Services in the development of training curriculum materials.
6. The Wilderness First Aid course, which is required for OA leaders, will include information on treating intoxication and on identifying alcohol abuse; this project should be implemented in collaboration with Health Services. As of fall of 1999, a physician from Health Services will participate in the First Aid courses and present information regarding acute alcohol poisoning and treatment strategies.
7. In collaboration with Health Services, OA will include first aid and safety information related to alcohol abuse on the OA Website. The director of OA, in collaboration with Health Services, has already started discussions to develop material on alcohol issues for inclusion in the First Aid and Safety Web page of the OA Website. The director is also exploring including this page on USG and Class Web pages, and other similar sites to provide additional avenues for access to the information.
8. All OA activities will continue to take place in a substance-free environment and OA will continue to ask that students sign a statement of agreement as a condition to participate. OA will increase publicity to expand awareness of weekly activities, as well as weekend and break trips, as attractive alcohol-free alternatives.
Campus culture and social climate
9. The Office of Student Life will work closely with the residential colleges to revise and enhance social activities during Orientation Week. Deans have met with the residential college administrators to begin planning a revised and enhanced program of late-night social activities during Orientation.
10. A modest pilot program will provide smoke-free and substance-free housing for upperclass students: 29 beds in the 2nd entry of 1901 have been designated smoke-free, and 10 singles on the 1st and 2nd floors Edwards have been designated substance-free housing. These rooms were quickly taken during the room-draw process. The program will be monitored carefully with a view to expanding it if it proves successful.
11. The International, Third World, and Women's Centers will collaborate to sponsor social events that will be an attractive alternative to club parties; the TWC Governance Board will emphasize the absence of alcohol at their normally well-attended social activities; the Women's Center will include a self-assessment instrument in its Website and topical "thought pieces."
The Frist Campus Center, expected to open in the fall of 2000, will offer ample opportunities for alcohol-free programs and events. Moreover, the Campus Center Programming Board, in cooperation with the USG and Center directors, will encourage collaboration among student organizations.
Policy and enforcement
12. The graphic one-page presentation of the alcohol policy, as revised by the Undergraduate Life Committees, will be redesigned to achieve greater clarity and to emphasize serious policy violations. All students will continue to receive this document yearly. Student Life staff, with help from the Office of Communications, has redesigned the presentation of the University alcohol policy and relevant state and federal laws. A new brochure will be available for the summer mailing to the freshman class and for distribution to all returning students during fall Registration.
13. The Office of Student Life and the Undergraduate Life Committees will further explore the possibility of requiring freshmen to sign an acknowledgment that they have read and understood the policy or of holding a mandatory discussion of the policy for freshmen in resident adviser groups shortly after arrival. ULC members have concluded discussion of this proposal, and a process has been developed for implementation in the fall of 1999.
14. The dean of student life will send a letter to parents or guardians of students in the incoming class in order to enlist their support of the trustee initiative and to provide an opportunity to discuss University standards and expectations with their son or daughter.
15. The Committee on Discipline and the Residential College Disciplinary Board have recommended that certain infractions receive stronger penalties. The recommended sequence of penalties makes a clear distinction between possession and serving and other alcohol violations, such as purchasing alcohol for someone under 21, use of false identification, etc.; serving and procuring violations will incur stiffer penalties:
- first serving/procuring violation -- three months probation
- second serving/procuring violation -- nine months probation and fifty hours of campus service; clear admonition that any future serving violation will normally result in suspension
- third serving/procuring violation -- suspension
These will constitute the progression of penalties for "simple" serving violations. In cases of property damage or other behaviors affecting or disrupting the community, students may also be removed from University housing or incur other more serious penalties immediately. It should be noted that these are baseline penalties and that any of these violations will be considered more or less serious and will incur more or less severe sanctions according to the specific circumstances.
In addition, the Committee on Discipline has reaffirmed the seriousness of initiation-related serving and has called for especially serious responses to such violations.
These changes in the standards will be promulgated and implemented in the fall of 1999. Deans and directors of studies are in the process of identifying the most effective ways to inform the student community of these changes in sanctions (articles and ads in the Prince and other student publications, notices in college newsletters, letters, etc.).
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
Education and communication
1. The Office of Communications will work with relevant campus offices to assemble and release data that can enable campus journalists to report more comprehensively about the consequences of alcohol abuse on campus, including alcohol-related admissions to McCosh Health Center and transports to the Princeton Medical Center, as well as alcohol-related rules infractions, such as vandalism. The Office will work to identify reportable indices that could be used to reflect on behavioral consequences in more sensitive areas, such as reported instances of acquaintance rape. Coverage of the nude olympics and the University's intention to end the tradition provided an opportunity to follow through on the proposal: the Office of Communications assisted the dean of student life in developing and disseminating a report that documented the consequences of the event for students and staff, as well as for members of the surrounding community, over the past few years.
2. Communications will model effective reporting on campus alcohol abuse by writing in the Princeton Weekly Bulletin both about the problem and about programmatic efforts to address it, and through the advice and assistance the office can give campus reporters in their attempts to do the same. The Office of Communications kept in regular touch with the Prince to assist in their coverage of the report of the Committee on the Nude Olympics. The PWB published in full the Trustees' April statement on the nude olympics.
THE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT GOVERNMENT
Campus culture and social climate
1. The USG indicated in December, and again in April, that it can best be used as "a vehicle for coordination and publicity." The USG has convened committees to a) improve the event-funding relationship between student groups and student government, and b) create a structure through which campus organizations can coordinate their events better so as to reach larger audiences. In addition the USG has convened a committee to work with the Office of Student Life and student groups to determine needs and the best way to distribute any new funds for student activities.
2. The USG has started to explore with the InterClub Council the possibility of renting or otherwise making the clubs available to student groups for alcohol-free events.
3. The USG will continue to facilitate dialog among students and expects to use a number of survey approaches to gather student input.
4. The USG will expand its programming initiatives, including large-scale events for the campus and collaborative projects with student organizations.
Education and communication
1. The Graduate Boards will continue an educational campaign emphasizing responsible drinking for the undergraduate officers; the Graduate Boards will monitor their clubs' Websites and other public communications to de-emphasize alcohol and underscore other aspects of club activities.
2. The GICC will continue its support for the educational role of the InterClub adviser and ongoing collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Student Life. The GICC and the dean of student life will again collaborate in the selection and appointment of the new InterClub adviser.
3. The ICC and the InterClub adviser will implement a training program for new officers sponsored by the Ombuds and Student Life Offices. A second training program took place for newly elected officers in February (the first one took place in September 1998). Eighteen officers took part in the program, which focused on managing different types of conflicts or difficult situations, including sexual harassment, intoxication, disputes, etc. In March, Campus Club held a similar program for the undergraduate board officers with the University ombuds officer.
4. The InterClub adviser will expand his or her educational role by producing an Officers Handbook that will include information about policies, procedures, and resources and by aggressively monitoring club advertisements, flyers, and Websites. The Handbook has been produced and was distributed to the officers in early March. It includes club-wide policies; officers' responsibilities; program descriptions; University resources; local statutes and University regulations regarding alcohol, hazing, and behaviors in the vicinity of the campus.
5. The InterClub adviser and the Office of Student Life will implement a series of lunches or dinners with deans to encourage dialog regarding policies, practices, and issues of common concern.
Campus culture and social climate
6. Non-alcoholic beer taps will be installed in all the clubs. Several of the clubs already have non-alcoholic beer on tap.
7. A number of the selective clubs will hold a dry bicker. Several clubs held a dry bicker in 1999. All of the selective clubs have now agreed to hold dry bicker.
8. The GICC will continue to encourage the clubs to enhance their support for academic activities and therefore the perception that the clubs can be an "extension of University academic life."
9. The InterClub adviser will work with the ICC, the GICC, and club managers to find ways to introduce freshmen and sophomores to the clubs that emphasize a range of activities not centered on alcohol. This April, with the assistance of the Prospect Foundation, the clubs hosted roundtable discussions with faculty open to all students. The InterClub adviser has made it possible through the Prospect Foundation Website for students to sign up for dinner at a club with a professor to engage a particular topic.
10. Clubs plan to increase substantially the availability and attractiveness of non-alcoholic alternatives at social events.
Policy and enforcement
11. The Graduate Boards will be informed of their club's social calendar, nature of activities, and how much alcohol is available during social functions; the Graduate Boards will monitor compliance with the 1994 Statement of Principles; bartenders will observe state and club regulations. (These proposals need explicit affirmation from the different Graduate Boards.)
12. The ICC will implement a program in which club officers wear distinctive shirts to create a visual reminder of club alcohol policies and to identify the officers as available to assist fellow students if problems arise.
13. Clubs will increase security of their grounds to prevent unauthorized entries. Several clubs are now hiring more security guards and some are turning to security companies as they seek more reliable and professional personnel.
Campus culture and social climate
The Alumni Council established a task force on alcohol and has started to implement a process to assess the role of alcohol at alumni events and better to understand how alumni model behaviors for undergraduates. The process included discussions, focus groups, and surveys. The task force reported its findings and recommendations to the Trustees on February 1, 1999. In addition, the Executive Committee of the Alumni Council approved the following initiatives, which were implemented at 1999 Reunions:
1. A universal wristband security system will replace the class badge system as a means of gaining access to Reunions headquarters and to alcoholic beverages. This new system will be administered by the University, not the classes, and will be employed during this year's Reunions.
2. Adult crew supervisors appointed by Public Safety will oversee bartenders at Reunions.
3. All student bartenders at Reunions will be required to take a professional bartending course (TIPS: Training in Intervention Procedures), organized and administered by the beer distributor in conjunction with Public Safety.
4. More and better non-alcoholic options and water stations will be available.
5. More signs regarding responsible use of alcohol, underage drinking, and alternatives to drinking alcohol will be put up around the campus.
6. Water and food stations will be set up where the seniors stand as they watch the P-rade go by; possibly additional marshals will be recruited.
7. The Alumni Council plans more widespread dissemination of information before and at Reunions regarding University and New Jersey alcohol policies, and also plans to expand the nighttime shuttle program to area hotels.
Student campus publications met with the Committee in the fall of 1998, and, while they did not respond formally to the Committee with specific proposals, they have been providing thorough and helpful coverage of the initiative and actively encouraging ongoing dialog in the University community about alcohol use and abuse.
Several fraternity and sorority officers met with the Committee in March and discussed ways in which these organizations could collaborate more actively with the University in addressing alcohol abuse. Although one fraternity did write to the Committee, fraternities and sororities as a body did not submit proposals; nevertheless, the Committee was encouraged by the discussion and expects that the Office of the Dean of Student Life will pursue further conversations with all the Greek-letter organizations to explore ways in which they can collaborate in the initiative.
Offices and groups submitted additional proposals that the Committee felt required further thought and definition. The Committee fully expects that these proposals will be actively pursued in the coming months and through the next academic year (a list of those proposals are included in Appendix A).
The Student Life, Health and Athletics Committee now expects that all of these proposals will be implemented and will actively and closely monitor progress through the Office of the Dean of Student Life. While acknowledging the difficulty of assessing at this time what will in fact be effective, the Committee proposes to do the following:
- Make clear to the community that the issue of alcohol abuse will remain on the Board's agenda.
- Require progress reports from campus organizations and departments by March 2000.
- Evaluate progress during its regular meetings, at least twice a year, more often if necessary.
- Continue to meet with campus constituencies, perhaps at special meetings held separately from Board meetings.
The Committee indicated that it will be of crucial importance to maintain the highest possible level of student engagement in the initiative and to ensure that the University community is prepared to work on the problem of alcohol abuse indefinitely, as it is endemic to our society and, as national data suggest, it is likely that the number of students entering Princeton who already have problems with alcohol may very well increase in the coming years. To this end, all efforts should focus as much as possible on the deeper issues that lead to abusive drinking. The University also needs to develop the means to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of new programs and activities. The dean of student life therefore will engage individuals with the appropriate expertise in developing these instruments.
The Committee and the President have agreed that funding should be set aside for new programs and proposals that will require additional financial support. The dean of student life will convene and chair a small committee of students, faculty, and administrators who will receive funding proposals and will allocate these additional resources through an open, competitive grant process. The Committee will work closely with the USG and will give preference to collaborative initiatives. Moreover, it will seek especially to provide resources to support student-initiated proposals, both for one-time-only, all-campus events and for regularly scheduled activities. The Student Life, Health and Athletics Committee also recommends that this funding be available to the grant committee for a period of three years. During the third year, progress will be evaluated to determine whether or not to continue providing this special funding.
Finally, the members of the Student Life, Health and Athletics Committee are enormously grateful to all who have worked so productively in this initiative. People have approached very difficult issues with open minds and concerned hearts. They have generously given their time and energy to develop creative and thoughtful proposals, and they have come together to begin changing both the reality and the perception of drinking on this campus. As a result, there is real reason to believe that a healthier social climate is emerging at Princeton.
Princeton University Board of Trustees
Members of the 1998-99 Student Life, Health and Athletics Committee
Frederick H. Borsch '57
Dennis J. Brownlee '72
Marsha Levy-Warren '73
Nancy J. Newman '78
Regis S. Pecos '77
Robert H. Rawson, Jr. '66
Taylor W. Reveley III '65, chair
Richard O. Scribner '58
Sejal A. Shah '95
Harold T. Shapiro *64
John J. F. Sherrerd '52
Sarah E. Stein '94
Ex officio: Dean of Student Life Janina Montero, secretary
The Committee wishes to recognize and to thank emeritus trustees Juanita T. James '74 and W. Hodding Carter III '57 and young alumni trustees Jeffrey S. Siegel '98 and George T. Whitesides '96 for their continuing commitment to the initiative and for their generous contribution of time and thought to these efforts to address issues of alcohol abuse.
The Committee on Student Life, Health and Athletics fully expects that the proposals listed below, which are in initial development stages, will be defined in greater detail and implemented as soon as possible.
In addition, the Committee has made a number of suggestions that might be further developed by the appropriate organization or University department, as follows:
While students are still skeptical of data regarding drinking patterns at Princeton, they might be more likely to engage that information seriously if they had the opportunity to generate the data and reach conclusions through their own research. Therefore, faculty might be encouraged to develop appropriate research and data collection methodologies in order to provide opportunities for independent student research related to alcohol use.
Service programs in local schools should be developed around issues of substance and alcohol abuse since older students often develop a greater sense of conviction as they instruct younger students.
A new incarnation of the Honor Assembly should be considered, possibly an "Assembly for Community Responsibility" to address, among other matters, the issue of alcohol abuse and the importance of students taking more responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their fellow students.
Alumni who often talk about "alcohol legends" should be reminded that the climate needs to change and that holding in high regard the excesses of the past can influence students' perceptions of the norms and of campus culture in general.
Education and communication
1. Health Services and Religious Life suggest implementing educational sessions or a seminar pilot, primarily for new students, on social health issues, alcohol abuse, and productive decision-making. This proposal should be explored further in relation to the recently developed Residential Education Program and in consultation with college masters and staffs.
2. Outdoor Action proposes to explore the possibility of implementing adventure education programs as adjunct programs to therapy and as challenge experiences for groupings of students with different support or leadership development needs (e.g., recovering alcoholics). This type of program requires careful consultation with the Counseling Center staff, expert training, and close supervision.
3. The GICC has commissioned the InterClub adviser to prepare an informational booklet about the Eating Clubs for new freshmen and prospective students. This may very well be a useful document for the clubs and underclass students, but any distribution to prospective students should be discussed in detail with the dean of admission.
4. The InterClub adviser suggests pursuing grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for innovative initiatives.
Campus culture and social climate
1. The residential college masters suggest further discussion of the possibility of implementing one four-year college to give more students the option of living in a college rather than upperclass housing.
2. Outdoor Action would like to expand its leadership development offerings to include special training, as well as the OA adventure course and the climbing wall, for student organizations, athletic teams, clubs, etc., to encourage interest in substance-free activities. This is an interesting proposal and should be explored further in collaboration with Student Life departments.
Policy and enforcement
1. Health Services proposes a pilot psycho-educational program for students who tend to engage in alcohol abuse with some frequency, which might be mandatory in some circumstances. Students would be identified in a variety of ways (discipline process, Health Services admission for intoxication, clinical evaluations, etc.). They would then participate in four one-hour group sessions. This is a proposal that involves a number of policy questions, and they should be considered carefully before proceeding with implementation.
2. Members of he Undergraduate Life Committees have begun and will continue next year to discuss the concept of "collective responsibility": Is this a useful concept for the University to consider, and does it also account for "group responsibility"? University policy currently deals only with individual behavior and does not include the assignment of responsibility to sponsors of activities or group behaviors. If the University rules applied to groups as well as individuals, it would be appropriate for the discipline system (the Residential College Disciplinary Board, the Committee on Discipline, the designated dean) to determine the degree to which a group may be responsible for the actions leading to a disciplinary charge. A change in the standards to include "collective " or "group responsibility" would be significant for Princeton and would require extensive community consultation (the ULC, the Rights, Rules Committee of the CPUC, the SLH&A Committee of the Board, etc.).
3. Public Safety proposes a system of "citations" that proctors and officers could issue to students in instances of violations of alcohol regulations. The intent is to encourage students to take more responsibility for their actions at the point of intervention by Public Safety staff. This suggestion should be explored further.
4. Public Safety suggests implementing fines for certain alcohol violations, especially possession of kegs. This might be a useful approach and should be considered carefully.
5. Public Safety proposes the implementation of a registration process for parties in dormitories. This suggestion should be considered further, along with the ULC recommendation that students be better informed about party guidelines.
6. The ICC suggests monitoring the effectiveness of its efforts through Health Services statistics with assistance from the InterClub adviser and the GICC. The director of Health Services should be consulted to explore the possibility of using Health Services information, giving full attention to confidentiality policies and requirements.
It should be mentioned that some groups suggested that current class scheduling patterns -- with few classes scheduled on Friday -- may contribute to a succession of parties during weekends, thus creating more opportunities for excessive drinking. The Office of the Dean of the Faculty, together with relevant faculty committees, has been pursuing for some time, independent of the Trustee initiative, appropriate changes in class scheduling patterns.
A trustee initiative on alcohol abuse Spring 1998
For more than a year, a special subcommittee of the Trustee Committee on Student Life, Health and Athletics has been assessing the use and abuse of alcohol on campus.
Chaired by Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren '73, the subcommittee gathered pertinent information from Princeton and other universities, and met with the administration's Alcohol Advisory Group, college masters, coaches, eating club officers, members of the Graduate InterClub Council, the director of Public Safety and other relevant University personnel.
At its April 25 meeting, the Board of Trustees thoroughly reviewed the subcommittee's work and agreed with its conclusion that, despite strong efforts by the University over recent years, alcohol abuse continues to be a serious problem on the Princeton campus.
The Trustees also agreed that the problem of alcohol abuse is of sufficient magnitude and urgency that a special initiative is required, and that to be successful it must be undertaken with the active engagement of the Trustees and all other members of the University community. It is the Trustees' strong conviction that there is no single or simple solution to alcohol abuse. Instead, making further progress requires a comprehensive and collaborative effort in which all members of the Princeton community play a role. Further progress can be made, but only if all of us work together.
Therefore, the Trustees call on the entire Princeton University community -- students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, parents and others -- to join with them in developing a broad-based action plan that will involve all sectors of the University, with the specific goal of reducing alcohol abuse at Princeton.
Alcohol abuse at Princeton: some background
Alcohol abuse is involved in essentially all serious instances of physical violence and sexual abuse that occur on campus. Alcohol abuse has been the direct cause on this campus of risk of grievous harm, of serious injury and, a number of years ago, of death. These patterns are similar to those at virtually all other colleges and universities.
For many years there have been reports on this campus and in the public press about the growing numbers of "binge drinkers" on college campuses across the United States. Binge drinkers are defined as those who, over a specified two-week period, have had at least five drinks in one sitting. The conclusions of national studies about the seriousness of binge drinking are reflected in the data of recent surveys at Princeton.
Princeton's current policies on the use and abuse of alcohol were adopted in 1988. (They can be found in the publication Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.) For well over a decade, under two presidents, the University has attempted to come to grips with what is recognized to be a problem of new and disturbing dimensions. Recently, under the direction of the dean of student life and others, a number of effective steps have been taken, and more are planned.
The most important current efforts are:
1. An administrative group (the Alcohol Advisory Group) was formed to oversee the ways in which the University's alcohol policy intersects with programming, prevention and evaluation efforts.
2. Peer advisers (Resident Advisers, Minority Affairs Advisers and Peer Educators) are trained in University alcohol policy and alcohol abuse resources, alcohol emergency management and basic alcohol abuse counseling. The newly established Residential Education Program targets first-year students and is designed to provide information about alcohol use (among other issues) and campus resources.
3. The Student Alcohol Peer Educators (SAPE) offer programs to Resident Advisers, athletes, eating clubs, fraternities and sororities.
4. Liaisons have been formed with the governing boards and officers of the Prospect Street clubs to address issues of alcohol use, liability from such use and planning alternative social activities, and the clubs have taken several encouraging steps, such as instituting a dry period during this year's bicker at some clubs.
5. Graduate College bartenders are trained to respond to signs of intoxication and to deal with alcohol emergencies.
6. Health Services personnel have met with and continue to have discussions with athletic teams to discuss alcohol policies, practices and problems.
7. There is a mandatory Freshman Orientation meeting that demonstrates the connection between alcohol use and sexual harassment and assault.
8. A pilot intervention program in one of the residential colleges, run by a senior member of the Counseling Service, focused on encouraging first-year students to speak up about their discomfort with alcohol use among their peers and social pressures to drink. This program was designed specifically to address the widespread phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance (i.e., the private belief, held by a majority of students, that they are among a minority of students who are less comfortable with alcohol use than are their peers).
9. There are a number of mechanisms in place through Student Life offices to help students at particular risk of alcohol abuse; once identified, these students are referred for evaluation and assistance.
10. During Reunions, alumni classes now impose much greater control on access to alcohol (wristbands, security personnel, etc.), and the University has encouraged the development of activities (such as fireworks) that do not emphasize alcohol and has provided an Alcoholics Anonymous site and other alcohol-free locations.
11. The University is actively engaged in planning the new Frist Campus Center, which many hope will become an attractive social nexus for the community not centered around alcohol.
12. More Friday classes are now being offered than in the recent past, and a faculty committee is considering the further restoration of Friday classes, which many believe would contribute to a reduction in the abusive drinking that can occur when parties begin on Thursday nights for students who do not have classes again until Monday.
A call to further action
For all of the efforts made and progress achieved in some areas, the problem of alcohol abuse remains a serious challenge to our community and substantially more needs to be done. As extensive as they have been, efforts thus far have involved too narrow a segment of the community. This is a responsibility for all members of the community, and the Trustees have identified the following as among those who they hope will make a special effort to assume leadership in addressing these issues:
* in the Office of the Dean of Student Life: the discipline groups (Committee on Discipline, Residential College Disciplinary Board), Health Services, the Department of Athletics, the Residential Education Program Committee and the Office of Religious Life;
* in the Office of the Dean of the College: masters, residential college staffs and student agencies (e.g., safeguards, bartenders);
* the Prospect Street eating clubs, including in particular their student officers and members of their graduate boards;
* the Office of Public Safety;
* the Alumni Council and parents' groups;
* student leaders: Undergraduate Student Government members, class officers, college councils, team captains and officers of student groups;
* student publications, including the Daily Princetonian;
* the offices of Public Affairs and of Communications;
* academic officers and faculty members; and
* the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
The Trustees also concluded that Princeton should continue to take a national leadership role in collaborative efforts with presidents and senior deans of peer institutions and with relevant associations to identify effective approaches to alcohol abuse. Such a collective approach would send an unambiguous message -- both that the seriousness of the problem is widely recognized and that educational institutions intend to go beyond current measures to deal with the causes and consequences of the problem.
A special trustee initiative
The Trustees believe that the University community needs first to acknowledge honestly the depth and scope of the problem of excessive drinking at Princeton, and then to develop a comprehensive campaign to combat it. They are calling upon each member of the community to assume personal responsibility for helping to design and carry out such a campaign, and toward that end are asking each member of the community to answer the following questions:
1. What are you currently doing to curb the misuse of alcohol at Princeton?
2. What other step(s) can you take?
3. What resources do you need to take these additional steps?
4. When will you be able to put these new measures in place?
5. How will you monitor their effectiveness?
Now is the time for action -- action based on a considered plan that enlists the full commitment and involvement of all sectors of the University community. Over the coming months, the Trustees will be actively engaged with all of these sectors to develop and implement specific initiatives. The Trustees will discuss ideas that emerged from their subcommittee, solicit the ideas of others and try to come to consensus about the most effective ways to combat alcohol abuse at Princeton. A comprehensive action plan, deriving from these discussions, will be brought to the board of Trustees for implementation over the next academic year. The board has no doubt that addressing these concerns will improve the health and safety of all who live, work and study at Princeton.
* The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey is a questionnaire designed to assist colleges and universities in assessing the nature and extent of drug and alcohol use on their campuses. It was originally developed by a committee of representatives from seven post-secondary educational institutions to assist recipients of FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education) grants in gathering baseline and trend data regarding alcohol and other drug use on their campuses and to provide a means of assessing the impact of the grant project. It is now administered by the Core Institute, a federally funded program that is part of the Center for Alcohol & Drug Studies at Southern Illinois University. The instrument became known as the "Core" Survey because it was designed to be the centerpiece, or "core," of potentially lengthier studies that institutions might conduct on their own campuses. The Core Survey itself was designed to be inexpensive and easy to administer, statistically reliable and valid, relevant to a college population, and comparable across institutions. Princeton first analyzed Core Survey data in the spring of 1993 as part of its assessment of prevention efforts conducted under the auspices of a two-year FIPSE grant awarded to Princeton University Health Services in summer 1991.