2012-2013

DENISON UNIVERSITY

REPORT TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES ON THE WORK OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON ALCOHOL & ITS EFFECTS

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OVERVIEW President Dale Knobel initiated the Ad Hoc Committee on Alcohol and its Effects in November 2012. The committee was comprised of seven students, three teaching faculty, four administrative staff, and a committee chair. The work of the committee was predicated by incidents of concern in fall 2012 and communication from the Division of Student Development, but occurred within the larger context of student, staff and faculty concerns related to campus culture; tensions in “town/gown” relations, and discussions within the Board of Trustees about the health of the college. The committee’s charge from the president encompassed three elements: 1) reviewing the Denison Community Governance Association (DCGA) party registration proposal as it compares to policies from other institutions and as it ad dresses specific elements of Denison’s campus culture and norms, and sending forward to the president before the end of the fall 2012 semester the committee’s recommendation for an implement able party registration system; 2) providing the president with information on Denison’s campus culture as it relates to alcohol, how that culture is experienced by different members of the campus and neighboring communities, and what information and advice these constituencies offer to ensure a safe, legal, and enjoyable social experience; and 3) surveying other colleges to identify perspectives, policy directions, programming, and resource innovations the could be beneficial for Denison to consider. During the process of the committee’s work, the group reviewed documents, policy statements and reports from other institutions; current literature on alcohol use and abuse among college students; constituency feedback as collected through visits with the committee, surveys, written responses to official communication about campus issues during the 20122013 year; and media coverage from The Denisonian and other local sources. The resultant 95-page comprehensive findings included the president’s charge to the committee; recent data about behaviors and beliefs related to alcohol use by Denison students and by college students nationwide; details of the party registration policy implementation; narrative results of the community survey about perceptions of alcohol and its effects on campus; and highlights of interviews with similarly situated college officials about their
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approach to alcohol education and prevention practices. The committee also put forward recommendations, including further study of the topic, review of current policy and practices, and continued campus dialogue. The committee concluded its work in May 2013. The comprehensive findings were written in the summer of 2013 and submitted to the Office of the President. This Report to the Board of Trustees, which represents the committee’s findings and recommendations, was written in September 2013.

ALCOHOL-RELATED DATA, BEHAVIORS, AND BELIEFS

Alcohol abuse among college students is a public health concern across the country. While this issue is not unique to Denison, the University remains concerned about the ways in which high-risk drinking impacts the campus and surrounding community. The goal of Denison’s alcohol abuse prevention program is to reduce harm associated with alcohol use, creating a safer campus community. While Denison recognizes that addressing alcohol misuse should be a University-wide effort, education efforts related to substance use prevention are primarily housed in the Office of Alcohol, Drug, and Health Education (ADHE). Denison adheres to the prevention framework recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center. Emphasizing a broad, integrated approach and supported by a wide body of research, the main components include the NIAAA-recommended “3-in-1 Approach,” targeting individual students, the student population as a whole, and the college and surrounding community; and the Higher Education Center-recommended “Environmental Management Strategies,” creating substance-free activities and a healthy normative environment, developing and enforcing campus policies, and limiting the availability and marketing of alcohol. The Office of ADHE presented descriptions of Denison initiatives in six areas: (1) Education and Intervention Initiatives: Establishing the Office of ADHE and the Drug & Alcohol Response Team (DART); social-norms campaigns, bystander intervention programs, and educational presentations to student groups; My Student Body online program; evidence3|Page

based alcohol education classes such as CHOICES and BASICS; TIPS Train the Trainer program; and the Medical Assistance/Amnesty Policy. In addition, Health and Counseling Services screens at-risk students and provides appropriate intervention. (2) Policy development and enforcement: Alcohol policies are outlined in the Code of Student Conduct and Student Handbook. Recent intervention initiatives include the Medical Assistance/Amnesty Policy, social event and residence hall party registration, and a response cascade for repeat offenders. (3) Substance free activities: Initiatives include available substance-free housing, extended late-night hours at popular campus hangouts, increased support for student organizations programming, and developing a stress-relief program. (4) Assessment: Three assessments about alcohol were conducted in 2011-12 at Denison. a) The American College Health Association’s National College Heath Assessment (spring 2011) suggested that Denison students use alcohol a bit more than other students at other institutions like ours. At the same time, as is true everywhere, students overestimated alcohol use by others. Most students reported consuming four or fewer drinks the last time they partied, and drinking amounts that would not put them over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC). b) The Cooperative Institutional Research Program survey of entering first-year students (fall 2011) indicated that Denison students arrive with more experience as high school drinkers than peers at other highly selective four-year institutions. c) The Denison University Medical Amnesty Survey (spring 2012) found that the vast majority of students whose alcohol incidents resulted in educational rather than disciplinary sanctions believed that the policy positively contributed to student safety on campus, and that these students were less likely to be repeat offenders. (5) Normative environment: Creating a campus environment where healthy social norms are promoted and supported is important yet challenging, as creating a shift in campus culture is gradual and ongoing. This process has been underway for several years but was spurred this year with various new initiatives. These include educational materials, such as a handout developed by DART for use by the Office of ADHE during student interventions and the “No Regrets” campaign, which seeks to recalibrate students’ sense of social norms.
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(6) Improved communication and relationship building, between Denison students and staff, among Student Development staff, and between the University and Granville community. Initiatives include discussing data with local officials in an effort to reconcile observations related to alcohol incidents; outreach to impacted Granville community members; Student Development accessibility, communication and transparency with students and faculty via weekly “community hours” in the student union; presentations to student government, university councils, and committees; articles in campus media; and raised expectations for accountability among student organizations and activities.

Alcohol-related Data

The table below reports relevant data related to alcohol use over the last several years. Alcohol Violations, Medical Amnesty Cases, and Drug Violations by Academic Year 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 Number of students charged with one or more Alcohol Policy 281 300 202 307 215 283  Violations Number of Cases Resolved Under NA NA NA 72 76 59 Medical Amnesty  These include Medical Assistance/Amnesty. As of January 2013, this also includes violations of the Party Registration Policy. Violations of the Code result in a range of educational sanctions including the most serious sanctions of suspension or expulsion. The committee also considered student feedback related to the efficacy of the Medical Amnesty Policy and came to general agreement that it positively impacts student safety by encouraging students to call for help and to consume alcohol more safely thereafter.

ELEMENT ONE: Party Registration System Implementation

The committee reviewed the new Party Registration Policy as it emerged from DCGA, the Commission on Social Culture, and the Task Force on Event Registration. The committee also
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reviewed more than 20 existing policies from peer institutions and took care to review prior campus discussions about this emerging policy and to consider Denison’s current culture and how social norms on our campus would shape the policy and its implementation. The registration system puts forth an expectation for members of the campus community to be accountable for student safety. The committee reported to President Knobel in December 2013 that there was broad support for this policy’s adoption as it was modeled after best practices elsewhere and has the potential to create a safer campus culture upon implementation. Denison’s Party Registration Policy—designed in collaboration by students, faculty and staff—is intended to provide autonomy to student social gatherings, facilitate risk reduction, and empower student hosts to promote a safe, mutually respectful, and enjoyable social environment for all members of the community. Effective January 2013, the policy was implemented as an amendment to the Code of Student Conduct and connected to the Campus Compact insofar as both are based on the premise that each student, having a full range of rights and responsibilities, should act with unconditional respect toward other persons, their property, and the environment in which we co-exist. The policy includes responsibilities for host, server and door monitors. A party is defined as a gathering of 15 people or more at which alcohol is served, and registration is required at least 24 hours in advance via an online system managed by the Offices of Residential Education and Security & Safety. A checklist for hosting a safe gathering is completed and reviewed with hosts prior to the party. Consequences for failure to abide by the policy are listed. Feedback and campus survey data from late January 2013 indicates that the party registration system and campus discourse were decreasing some negative behaviors. Licking Memorial Hospital transport numbers decreased from fall to spring; spring transports were fewer by month over the prior year, and common alleged violations of the code related to alcohol use appeared to be less as well. Initial student reaction included conversation about the required sobriety of the door monitor, host, and server, and the ability of the door monitor to fulfill the expectations outlined in the policy given the physical space of gatherings, along with a
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expressed sense of uncertainty as they adjusted to the application and pre-party check process. However, as students have had the opportunity to develop a better relationship with security, and as students have become more accustomed to the policy, a number of the reservations originally expressed by students have been eased.

ELEMENT TWO: Community Narratives & Constituency Feedback

In February 2013, the committee distributed an electronic survey to Denison students, faculty and staff, with four questions: 1) How would you describe the social culture at Denison? 2) How would you explain the role alcohol plays in this culture, e.g., how it functions, the purposes it serves, and the impact it has? 3) Most people would agree that alcohol can have both positive and negative effects upon our campus community. What effects have you personally experienced or observed? 4) If you could change/improve one aspect of Denison’s social culture, what would that be? The summary provides a snapshot of perceptions from members of the campus community, who clearly are diverse in background, behaviors, beliefs about alcohol use, and concepts of what college social culture should be. Readers must remain mindful that the ideas expressed are based on perceptions, not necessarily on confirmed truths, and they should use this information as a starting point for inquiry. Respondents to the survey include 297 students (roughly a 13% response rate) and 93 faculty/staff (roughly a 12% response rate). With regard to the student demographic, 64% of respondents identified as female, 35% as male, and 1% as other; 81% identified as white, 5% as black, 4% as Asian, 4% as multiracial, 4% as Hispanic, and 4% as other; and 9% identified as international students. In terms of class year, 31% were members of the class of 2016, 30% were members of 2015, 21% of 2014 and 19% of 2013. Slightly overrepresented in the respondent pool were fraternity- and sororityaffiliated at 47%. Slightly underrepresented were varsity athletes at 20%. With regard to the faculty/staff demographic, 55 identified as teaching faculty, 15 administrative staff, 12 support operating staff, 8 general faculty, and 3 “other.”
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The committee analyzed the survey responses by abstracting themes. Student responses were examined separately from those received from faculty, staff, and administration and then observations across groups were compared, noting parallels and differences.

Q1: How would you describe the social culture at Denison? Social Divisions: Numerous students perceived divisions among student groups and “cliques,” framed by binaries such as fraternity/sorority-affiliated or independent, or as people who party or do not. The perceived lack of a collective community identity echoes in responses speaking from a minority perspective. Many referenced fraternity/sorority life when speaking about a divisive social culture, while counter perspectives offered by members of the fraternity/sorority community credit it as offering meaningful experience. Some view Denison’s social culture as diverse and accepting with fun opportunities to meet new people. Faculty and staff (FAS) emphasized a perceived division between partiers and non-partiers. Space: A common disappointment was in campus social spaces. With parties concentrated in student residences and apartments, many expressed feeling confined and described parties as cramped and unpleasant, creating conditions that encourage drinking simply to make the experience palatable. Policy: Campus policies are perceived as being as insulating as the limited physical spaces. Coupled together, these conditions provoke a sense of feeling trapped, which several students attribute to the reasons why some act out. Th e perception of an “us vs. them” relationship between students and administration was noted. Trust, or the lack thereof, is integral to the issues cited. Evaluations of Social Culture: Positive descriptions of campus as friendly and comfortable were outnumbered by those expressing dissatisfaction in the social divide and party scene. Some noted problematic extremes of parties. Others, while favoring the party scene, suggested that not participating could lead to limited social experiences. Some believe their peers are simply unaware of all the options available other than partying. Some FAS noted steady improvements in social culture, with more students who are academically
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focused and less party oriented, and some acknowledged that they know less about the student social culture outside of the classroom and/or academic events. Nevertheless, more than half of the FAS respondents expressed concern over the social culture.

Q2: How would you explain the role alcohol plays in this culture, e.g. how it functions, the purposes it serves, and the impact it has? Themes emerged in three categories: Alcohol is used to ease social interactions, relax, and be entertained. Many students described alcohol as “social lubricant,” others that drinking was the only way they could tolerate the conditions of the typical Denison party. Many framed alcohol as a means for enjoyment, stress-relief, and relaxation, especially as related to the stresses of schoolwork. Some referenced the “work hard, play hard” framework. Several noted that the campus, “being on the hill,” does not have many alternative ve nu e s f o r o r sources of entertainment. Some noted that alcohol stories give people something interesting to talk about after events occur. There are sharp divides between responsible and irresponsible d r i n k e r s . Many brought attention to the different ways students drink, focusing on a) those who act responsibly and those who lose control, and/or b) those who do not drink and those who do. Some students blame the fraternity/sorority system; others assume age plays a role in explaining different drinking behaviors. According to many, the actions of a few irresponsible drinkers has a huge impact on the image of Denison’s social culture and a small fraction of students make the most noise and cause the most damage. Multiple responses described alcohol as creating a division between students and the “administration.” Much resentment and anguish was expressed over the current policies and regulations in effect, such as more limited hours of swipe-card to residence halls. Many appeal to the belief that drinking on campus is inevitable and thus perceive the administration as trying to do away with a natural part of college. Many feel policies (like the changes to swipe access) emerge with little explanation or input, and assert that restrictions provoke rebellious behavior.
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Observed impacts—positive and negative—of alcohol use are not unique to Denison. Nearly half of the responses expressed concern over the impact a small percentage of students can have on campus. More often, those who voiced concern perceived a growing number of their peers drinking for reasons beyond a casual unwinding. Some see the impact as small while others perceive the impact as large. An overwhelming number of FAS perceive alcohol as having a negative impact on campus culture. Several FAS noted that there is nothing particular to Denison that distinguishes its alcohol culture among other college campuses. As was also common among student responses, the fraternity/sorority systems was a target for blame by FAS. While respondents would like to see safer conditions on campus, they are skeptical of the extent to which change is possible given the perceived trends nationwide. These various angles illustrate the dynamics at play in the construction of the social culture. No single aspect can be isolated when it comes to explaining the conditions experienced on campus.

Q3: Most people would agree that alcohol can have both positive and negative effects upon our campus community. What effects have you personally experienced or observed? Approximately half of the FAS respondents did not have first-hand experiences to report or were unsure. Several FAS explained their disappointment in seeing students in the grocery buying significant amounts of alcohol. Many others focused on the aftermath, especially with regard to class attendance on Thursday mornings. Several FAS members were concerned about alcohol’s impact on the academic culture on campus and on the recruitment of prospective students. Widely cited by FAS who are also Granville community members was a concern over the amount of trash and vandalism that follows from alcohol related incidents. Others recalled too many sirens coming to campus and reading about issues in local newspapers. To no one’s surprise, the majority of students spoke of positive and negative effects as contingent upon responsibility; namely, those who consume alcohol in moderate amounts experience redeeming effects, whereas those drinking to the point of intoxication instigate undesirable outcomes. Perspectives cluster around the following categories:
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Social and Relational Experiences. Many underscored the value that drinking added to their social lives, especially in making friends. Some said that refusing to drink made it difficult to fit in, or changed relationships with friends. Given that events involving alcohol instigate stories, its effects carry over into conversations among peer groups, perhaps furthering bonds between some students while inadvertently creating distance between others. Some explained the difficulties involved when witnessing their friends go beyond their alcohol limits, or the stress brought upon roommates, which presents challenges that cannot be escaped. Learning. Several students contended that drinking is a significant part of the learning experiences of college, including learning from mistakes and experiencing negative consequences in order to learn how to drink within healthier limits. Others attributed the social surroundings as cultivating unhealthy habits. The perception that everyone must make mistakes in order to learn positive habits employs a reactive framework, shaping a narrative wherein proactive views are not commensurate, and creating an environment where alcohol education may not resonate with students because it is proactive. Environmental Experiences. Many students, including those expressing the positive effects of alcohol, expressed concern about the destruction to the physical environment and overall wellbeing of the campus community that follows from excessive drinking. Incidents of vandalism were noted frequently with outrage from students, and there was resounding support for accountability. This viewpoint clashes with those who believe that students must make mistakes before learning. Some students expressed frustration that particular incidents reflected poorly on the school’s image. A few contended that the surrounding community should be more realistic and accepting of “normal” rowdy college student behavior. Institutional and Policy Experiences. A number of students said current policies are stifling, and instigate rather than remedy the negative effects of alcohol. Other students expressed a need for stricter penalties for those who drink in excess. Because many do not observe immediate improvements to the campus culture upon the implementation of policies, they do not witness the remedial qualities in the same ways that they experience the direct impact of restrictions. Those who drink responsibly experience no reward or
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acknowledgement for doing so; instead they experience what they perceive as unwarranted punishments for others’ wrongdoings.

Q4: If you could change/improve one aspect of Denison’s social culture, what would that be? FAS responses followed these predominant themes: 1) more social activities for FAS and students to mingle casually; 2) more casual drinking events held in larger spaces; 3) more activities in general; 4) reduced number of activities and involvement outside of class; 5) elimination of the fraternity/sorority system; 6 ) stricter sanctions for violations. Student responses followed these predominant themes: 1) diversified and expanded space for social gatherings and residential life; 2) more weekend social activities and/or bolstered morale for various events; 3) fewer policies and steeper sanctions; 4) elimination of the fraternity/sorority system (approximately a third of the responses attributed to the fraternity/sorority system the social divides witnessed in the campus culture); 5) paradigmatic shift needed in how campus members regard their relationships with one another. While many students expressed their love for the school, they explained a yearning for more respect and tolerance, more responsible behavior, and a more collective sense of community and pride as Denisonians.

ELEMENT TWO: Narratives From Community Small Group Meetings Representatives from Denison’s Office of Alcohol, Drug & Health Education; the Health Center; Building Services; student leaders from University Programming Council (UPC) and the Bandersnatch as providers of alcohol-free programs; Granville Fire Department/EMS squad; and Granville Village administration were invited to share their observations with the committee. Prior to the visits, the chair asked these guests to consider the questions posed in the campus survey, plus the following: What information from your perspective is important for us to know? What do you consider to be the most problematic impact on you in your role? For
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local authorities: Research on alcohol use on college campuses nationwide highlight partnerships between the college community and local authorities. What resources, programs, enforcement strategies, ideas, etc., might you contribute as we seek solutions? What other local/regional/state/federal agencies resources might play a role related to addressing the issue? What does a typical response to an alcohol intoxication look like? What does an atypical response (outlier/extreme) situation look like? What safety concerns do you have? What data, if any, do you wish to share with us?

Summary of findings

Building Services staff struggle with student accountability issues. Despite positive relationships with students, weekend and late night behavior exhibits disregard for the work of building services staff. The Health Center staff operates using best practices. Post-intervention, very few situations repeat themselves. When they do, student patients are referred to resources. The typical party night was described. The nurses have appropriate support. They conveyed that last fall’s “spike” was concerning but not a crisis moment. Student leaders discussed campus life after hours and the alternative programming scene, including the Bandersnatch and UPC events as examples of student groups taking responsibility for offering access to space and activities. These students noted some reduction in attendance at programs, and the committee encouraged them to further explore this phenomenon. The Village Fire Department presented data, observations and opinion. Alleged outrageous behaviors from intoxicated students and bystanders were decried by all. They spoke of primary concern for student safety when students engage in dangerous behaviors, like drinking to excess and fire-safety issues. They believe alcohol trends are not headed in a healthy direction. The Granville Township administrator, attorney/law director, chief of police and chief of fire acknowledged problems with alcohol on campus but indicated that, placed in context with
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higher education today, it seemed to be “the norm.” The committee did not observe among this group the perception of a “crisis.” They certainly noted concern about underage consumption, distribution to minors, and disruptive behavior confronted in town. Officials recognized University efforts to bridge town/gown relations (student residence hall meetings with township officials at the start of the year and the statewide town/gown summit hosted at Denison) and efforts to identify solutions to problematic issues (such as party registration). They did not express significant concern about resource drain. However, they did note that such calls potentially could impact response to other matters that might arise at the same time. Continued engagement with local officials and solution-focused conversations are encouraged. Officials took note of the generally positive relationship residents have with the college. In addition to these constituencies, committee members also worked to voice their own experiences as members of various constituencies on campus, including faculty, staff, first-year and upper-class students, party hosts, DCGA leaders, athletes, fraternity/sorority members, students of color, LGBTQA identities, and Village residents. The chair also shared a summary of emails sent by parents to President Knobel following his letter about the issues the campus was facing. Parents relayed stories from their students’ perspectives and their own and thanked the president for giving them information that they can use while in conversation with their students.

ELEMENT THREE: Current Practices in the Field

The committee reviewed policy statements, party registration systems, campus culture reports, current research in the field, and other materials during the year. A smaller subcommittee conducted telephone interviews with colleagues at other colleges. The situation Denison is facing was found to be similar to issues facing peer institutions. In fact, many strategies we employ also have been adopted in some manner on other campuses. Other campuses seek to reduce vandalism and other violations of codes of conduct, and their faculty have been engaged on alcohol-related academic performance issues. Proactive communication with new students and families has been widely adopted. Some have ratcheted
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up consequences for alcohol abuse and related issues. Officials have reached out to fraternity and sorority presidents and student government leaders to make certain both the institutional goals and the increased consequences are understood. Schools also have increased alternative programming, internal collaboration, peer support and consortia in alcohol education and intervention, and broad assessment of practices with appropriate action steps. Campus dialogue and student-initiated efforts have been especially beneficial. Some do not permit students to register parties in residence hall room spaces. One college renovated larger social spaces for the purpose of registered social events hosted by students. Similar to recent initiatives at Denison, the most significant efforts at various colleges involve bystander intervention. Colleges found it important to empower leaders to be strategic and specific and to use a comprehensive and evidence-based approach. Like Denison, most of our peers use the 3-in-1 framework and Environmental Management Strategies to guide their recommendations. There has been a focus on “drumming up the conversation” among faculty members, who have incorporated candid discussions, class projects, etc., in coursework. Colleges still need to do more work in the area of consistent messaging and marketing about alcohol use, socials norms, and expectations from all areas of the college, including the Admissions Office.

Committee Recommendations

Prevention Measures 1) Continue utilizing NIAAA’s “3-in-1 Approach,” with future working groups identifying ways to enhance our efforts. 2) Place additional emphasis on the Higher Education Center’s “Environmental Management Strategies.” 3) Negotiate clear, collective understandings of the causes and effects constituting the alcohol conditions on campus. Consider, for example, the impact of the cultural “expectation” for male, fraternity affiliated students to host parties on campus. 4) Continue to provide programming that offers alternatives to the party scene; investigate why attendance at (alcohol-free) campus events may be declining.

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Education 1) Restructure the way alcohol consumption and the party scene is addressed to first year students and perhaps as students transition to legal drinking age. 2) Offer programs for students to hear the personal narratives from “harmed parties,” perhaps as a focus of Restorative Justice. 3) Engage Denison parents prior to student’s enrollment and maintain a strategy of connection. Provide parents with tools to initiate meaningful dialogue with their student.

Social Spaces 1) Make it a priority to discuss and resolve, in association with student leaders, the issue of social spaces. It is imperative to shift the culture away from cramped party spaces in residence halls to safer parties in larger “public” venues. 2). Continue to look into how to transform campus spaces in a way that would discourage the pre-gaming culture, especially as it impacts underage students.

Communication/Collaboration 1) Continue transparent communication from the vice president for student development and other leaders about campus issues. Continue to engage faculty on topics related to Denison’s social culture. Regularize discussions related to alcohol and the social culture in varied campus environments. 2) Address the expressed lack of trust and respect between individuals and among larger social groups. 3) Further reflect on and articulate the role faculty advisers, coaches and others play in shaping student understanding of behavioral expectations at the college. 4) Continue to help students understand the town/gown relationship and the fact that behaviors have consequences in the local community. 5) Address alumni and friends of the college’s concerns related to reputational impact of an unhealthy campus culture and environment.

Evaluation 1) Evaluate existing policies, especially taking a close look at the enforcement of policies. 2) Establish clear metrics for how we will measure change over time.

Awareness 1) In Campus Climate Watch, report vandalism, abuse, and the cost of repairs. 2) Find appropriate ways to educate students, staff, faculty and local officials about the
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consequences imposed, including suspension and expulsion, for alcohol and alcohol-related violations. 3) Work to highlight the majority of our students, who are responsible, engaged citizens; acknowledge the predominance of students who choose not to drink or who drink moderately and responsibly.

Enforcement and Consequences 1) Appraise whether offices engaged in enforcement and investigation have appropriate resources. 2) Fully investigate incidents to identify those who provide underage students with alcohol. Treat these offenses as the crimes that they are, with appropriate consequences. Uphold college expectations when sanctioning violations. 3) Determine the alcohol outlet density in our immediate area, identify opportunities for partnership with local establishments, local and state officials (including the Liquor Control Commission), and establish shared commitments related to regulation of alcohol availability, enforcement related to distribution/sales to minors, and penalties for over-serving.

Questions for Further Study

1) How do we address the proactive-reactive educational structure? How might we reexamine the messages and the ways they are presented on our campus? 2) How might Student Development staff, faculty and students find effective ways to partner on prevention and education efforts moving into the future? 3) How will the work of trust-building look in the years ahead? 4) How will the diversity of our student population and its different experiences, expectations and perceptions regarding alcohol and the social culture be fully heard and considered on campus? What voices were missing in this analysis? What voices were overrepresented? 5) What strategies make the most sense for our campus to employ to keep our students safe?

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Concluding Thoughts

The committee recognizes that its efforts over a limited six-month period (November 2012-April 2013) were not, and could not be, exhaustive. The committee encourages further campus discussion about solutions. It is critical to focus on strategies for prevention that will resonate with various members of our unique residential campus and move us forward. Despite good efforts to employ best practices in risk reduction and education about alcohol and its effects, our community finds itself in a critical moment. The committee suggests that the president and vice president for student development task individuals to commit resources to further align initiatives within the frameworks for prevention and environmental management. There is an opportunity for Denison’s Drug & Alcohol Resource Team (DART) to be empowered to lead future efforts with an expanded charge. It would be right to have several working groups tackle major issues. Clear direction to individuals working in this area is desired, and campus collaboration should be encouraged. A review of the literature was not presented in the comprehensive findings. General and teaching faculty may wish to collaborate on further research and attempts to make meaning of the Denison experience related to alcohol and its effects in the future.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Bill Fox Dean of Students Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Alcohol and Its Effects foxw@denison.edu 740-587-6271

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