Regents: Notify Students' Parents Alcohol

Regents: Notify Students' Parents Alcohol
Posted by FoM on February 19, 2000 at 20:06:09 PT
By Jack Wheat
Source: Miami Herald
State university students who get in trouble while using alcohol or drugs may find themselves explaining to a higher authority than the dean of students or even the campus police -- mom and dad.The Board of Regents, meeting at the University of Central Florida Friday, directed the 10 state universities to develop a plan for notifying parents when alcohol or drugs are involved in episodes in which students under age 21 are in accidents, break the law or violate university rules.
It's the university system's latest effort to curtail chronic collegiate drinking.``The whole purpose is not to be punitive, but to get parents back involved in their children's lives when they need to be,'' said Regent Steve Uhlfelder of Tallahassee, who proposed the policy in May 1999. ``It's a way to deal with a problem nobody's ever been able to solve.''Regents want the 10 universities to complete work on the new policy by September.In 1998, Congress amended the federal student right-to-privacy laws to allow parental notification for students younger than 21 in drug and alcohol cases. The University of Delaware, Massachusetts public universities and some Virginia institutions have implemented parental notification policies.The University of Delaware has reported major declines in serious incidents of alcohol poisoning, vandalism in dormitories and fraternity disciplinary cases since it instituted its program, said James Mau, university system vice chancellor and former provost of Florida International University.For the Florida policy to be effective, a change in state law is needed, Florida Atlantic University counselor Barry Gregory told the board. Under Florida's privacy law, the universities could only notify parents when students are officially classified as their dependents. Regents agreed to ask the Legislature for authority to notify parents of any student younger than 21.Separate Policies:Uhlfelder originally proposed a single university system policy that would have required institutions to notify parents after the first infraction. But on the recommendation of the board's staff, regents decided that each university needs to devise its own policy for when to notify parents.``The cultures of our universities are quite different,'' Mau said. ``A highly residential campus in Tallahassee or Gainesville would logically need a different policy on alcohol and parental notification than a metropolitan university with few residential students and an older student body.''One of the toughest issues university administrators and student leaders must deal with is deciding ``what is the threshold for determining this is problem behavior,'' Mau said. ``Should it be one, two or three incidents? Zero tolerance?''OrlandoBy Jack Wheatjwheat Published Saturday, February 19, 2000, in the Miami Herald Related Articles: Parental Notification Spur Protest at U. South Fla May Get Word If College Students Err
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