Public Affairs

CSU To Review and Strengthen Student Alcohol Policies

California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed has appointed a committee of CSU presidents and students to review the university system's alcohol policies and prevention programs with a goal of strengthening them so fewer students are injured or die as a result of alcohol abuse.

Chairing the committee is CSU Fresno President John Welty, who also is the vice chair of BACCHUS, the international association of college- and university-based peer education programs focusing on alcohol abuse prevention.

"This is an extremely important issue," Welty said. "Recent studies indicate that there are new approaches that could help combat this serious problem among university students. We want to take a look at what we now have in place and what we could be doing better."

Shaun Lumachi, chair of the California State Student Association, is identifying between five and six students to work with the university presidents' committee. "The CSU is doing the right thing by addressing this serious issue. We are supportive of Chancellor Reed's call to come up with solutions for our college campuses," Lumachi said.

CSU Presidents on the committee are Tomas Arciniega, CSU Bakersfield; Manuel Esteban, CSU Chico; James Lyons, CSU Dominguez Hills; Stephen Weber, San Diego State; and Bob Caret, San Jose State.

Recent incidents at two CSU campuses prompted Chancellor Reed to move in this direction. A fraternity pledge at Chico died after ingesting a considerable amount of alcohol. Two different fraternity-related incidents at San Diego involved underage drinking and hospitalization of pledges. The three fraternities at the two universities have been suspended while the cases are being investigated.

While these incidents involved Greek organizations, Reed and the presidents recognize that the problem goes beyond fraternities and clubs, and reaches into the general student population.

"We can not look at alcohol abuse as just a way of college life," Reed said. "We need to increase awareness of the problem and then find some solutions that really work and not just come up with policies that sit on a shelf. Our children's lives are at risk, and universities need to make every effort to prevent any more lives from being wasted."

Welty expects that his committee will make a report to the chancellor and the Board of Trustees in early spring.