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Alcohol probation continues from last year

By Sam Hopper     9/7/11 7:00pm

The alcohol probation period, which was initiated late last spring, is still in effect with no plans for being lifted in the near future.

Before the alcohol probation period can end, a change must be seen toward the attitude to alcohol on campus, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said.

"I need to see a change in the perspective of students about the use of alcohol on campus, and [see] that that perspective be one of respect for each other, respect for themselves and an understanding both of the risks of the abuse of alcohol and the consequences of the abuse of alcohol," Hutchinson said.

Dean Hutchinson, in interviews as well as in meetings with college leadership, has identified three specific ways in which he hopes for colleges to foster that change. These include educational programing to ensure every student is knowledgeable on the topic, enforcing the alcohol policy within the colleges and that each college has a strong peer caregiver program, he said.

In order to educate the freshman class about alcohol responsibility, administrators and O-Week coordinators planned discussions and presentations about drinking and Rice's Culture of Care initiative for this year's O-Week. Q&A sessions with Rice EMS and RUPD were also held.

"The efforts made by the student leadership to do alcohol education during O-Week I thought were very good," Hutchinson said.

Some students found the high level of focus on alcohol responsibility during O-Week informative and helpful.

"The alcohol talks were very helpful," McMurtry College freshman Joseph Buenrostro said. "I think they cleared up many misconceptions about alcohol at Rice."

Hutchinson emphasized the importance of the caregiver system to an assurance of student alcohol safety.

"A key element of [the] Culture of Care literally is the caregiver system, and I know that many of the colleges have taken a very aggressive approach towards both training their students and organizing their students to provide a safety net," he said.

In the meantime, students should not try to make an analysis of how the probation is going based on the number of EMS calls Rice EMS, Communications Lieutenant Faroukh Mehkri said.

"We don't want to use the number of EMS calls as a way to evaluate the effectiveness of the alcohol probation. A reduction in calls could result from a reduction in abuse of alcohol, but it could also result from reluctance to call EMS," he said.

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