CSU and the University of Colorado at Boulder have very different approaches to dealing with underage alcohol consumption in the residence halls.
Both universities implemented a new system for the 2000-2001 school year that calls for parental notification in some circumstances.
At CSU, the consequences for alcohol or drug-related crimes depend entirely on the situation and the student, said Anne Hudgens, executive director of campus life.
“What we want is for students to be more responsible for themselves,” said Hudgens. First-time offenders usually have to meet with their resident adviser and attend a free Day One drugs and alcohol meeting. If a student gets in trouble twice, he or she usually has to meet with the hall director and parental notification may be implemented.
“It completely depends on the seriousness of the incident,” said RA Diana Sweet, a junior majoring in wildlife biology.
At CU, they have a “three strikes” program to deal with alcohol and drug abuse, said Kevin Lee, executive director of communications at CU. The first alcohol-related offense gets the student probation for one semester, five hours of community service and mandatory attendance at an alcohol awareness class. The class has a price of $100 and is directly billed to the student.
A second offense deems probation for a full year, parental notification and requires students to write a three- to five-page report on a book entitled “Beer, Booze, and Books.” If a student is found at fault three times, he or she is suspended for one full semester.
“The biggest deterrent among students is parental notification,” said Lee.
Parental notification for students at universities has been an issue since the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1973, Hudgens said. This act was amended in 1998 to give parents of dependent students the right to know if their son or daughter was involved in any alcohol or drug related crimes on campus. It is up to the university to decide when it is necessary to notify parents.
Jenny Higgason, a freshman majoring in health and exercise science, lives in a residence hall. She thinks parental notification is not helpful for students who are trying to become more independent.
“I don’t think they should involve my parents. It’s college, you’re supposed to be branching off,” Higgason said.
Carol Higgason, Jenny’s mother, is glad that CSU informs parents of alcohol and drug-related incidents.
“She is still underage, so I am still legally responsible for her,” she said.