Feb 012005
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

To find out more about the task force and to read its final report go to www.president.colostate.edu/alcohol_task_force/

CSU President Larry Penley said that while "there is no silver bullet that will solve the problem with alcohol in the society," he would immediately implement three of the 43 recommendations offered by the CSU Alcohol Task Force in its final report.

These approved recommendations include a commitment to expanding programs such as Drugs, Alcohol and You (DAY) that address intervention and education for students, implementing a mandatory program for students moving to off-campus housing and a commitment to sharing the task force research with other university presidents.

Penley will meet with the Board of Governors of the CSU System on Feb. 9 in Pueblo to discuss the other recommendations.

Penley formed the task force in the fall to review university policies and protocols, examine student behavior related to alcohol use and review existing state and federal legislation regarding alcohol. The task force met for the last time Thursday to finalize its recommendations.

Penley also said a $100,000 privately funded donation will be made to the SAM Spady Foundation. The foundation was formed in remembrance of CSU student Samantha Spady, whose death last fall, because of alcohol poisoning, was a part of the reason for the task force's formulation.

"Despite these challenges, the university must take steps to help," Penley said. "We must arm students with information."

Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, the chair of the task force, and Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez both gave opening remarks thanking the task force and community for their time and commitment.

"This is where we're going to draw the line in the sand and say we're going to do something," Martinez said. "Now it's time to start acting. We as a community will stand behind the recommendations."

Martinez also announced plans to implement a neighborhood program in the Campus West area to be more interactive with both students and community members who live there.

Norton called the work of the task force " a step toward challenging the culture that encourages excessive drinking."

While the three recommendations will see immediate action, the others will require more thought before they take effect, if at all. A committee of accountability will also be announced to ensure that task force recommendations are not forgotten.

The DAY program offers alcohol education, follow-ups for students taken to the hospital or detox center for alcohol overdoses, individual assessments, group support for people wanting to reduce or quit their alcohol intake, and treatment of substance abuse. The task force recommendation also discussed the treatment capacity being expanded. Rough budget estimates say the additional costs could be about $130,000. CSU will also be seeking a grant to help with the costs, according to the task force's report.

A program to help students transition from on-campus to off-campus living will also be implemented, hoping to help students realize their role, responsibility and legal obligations to the community, Penley said.

"There is a significant change in lifestyle when moving from campus housing into the community," Penley said. "What students need to understand is it can indeed have a significant effect on the community."

The third policy is in regards to CSU's obligation to share the information it has learned from the task force investigation with other universities and the nation.

"By doing so CSU is poised to be a national leader," Norton said.

Jeff Rodriguez, a sophomore construction management student and member of Greek Life, said the task force members all put in a lot of effort. Rodriguez was a member of the subcommittee on student behavior and educational and intervention programs and said he offered his experiences from student life.

"I'm in Greek Life and I'm in the culture every day," Rodriguez said. "I think (the recommendations) should be accepted and should work."

Associated Students of CSU President Katie Clausen said she thinks students should be impressed by the amount of work and research that went into the recommendations, which also provide a solid outline for people to look back at.

"Going over the (43) recommendations, they'll have something to fall back on and say, 'This is why we're doing this,'" Clausen said.

While many students may be concerned with alcohol sales returning to Hughes, Penley urged students to remember that is just one of a long list of recommendations that the task force has made and he doesn't want that one to overshadow the rest of the work.

"If we let Hughes overshadow the work we will have missed all the work (in the final report)," Penley said.



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