Like many of you, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of a sophomore student at a fraternity house near our campus over the weekend, and that this death appears to be linked to alcohol.
Based on this tragic news, I believe the university must take action to examine our campus climate in regard to alcohol use. I know there are several requirements of our students, as well as programs to deal with this issue on our campus. However, I believe recent events require even more attention and action.
Based on this, and on our desire at Colorado State to create a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff, I will appoint a special task force to examine the issue of alcohol abuse and our campus response to it. This task force, to be named this week, will be comprised of campus and community members and will not only review our current programs and offerings, but will also look at the best practices at colleges and universities around the nation.
As you all know, Colorado State is not alone in dealing with the issue of alcohol abuse. The “Snapshot of Annual High-Risk Drinking Consequences,” from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, provides some jarring information:
– 1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
– 500,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.
– More than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
In light of this reality, I urge you all to join me in talking about the issue of alcohol abuse, to examine what you as an individual might do to take responsibility for your actions and the actions of others, and to work together to deal with this pressing concern on our campus and around the nation.
The tragic news over the weekend requires that we, as a community, examine our programs, policies and culture, and do what is necessary to create the safest learning environment possible, and I look forward to working with all of you to achieve this goal.
Larry Edward Penley