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February 05, 1999 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-05

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14 -- The Michigan Daily -- Friday, February 5, 1999


arlier this week, more than 40
people walked into an empty ball-
room at the Radisson Hotel in
downtown Lansing with one objec-
During the past five months, hun-
dreds of college students, Michigan
educators, concerned parents and fam-
ilies have been deeply affected by four
alcohol-related deaths that occurred
on three state college campuses.
Some people assume that college
students are going to experiment with
alcohol, but many state university
officials said they want to change the
culture that exists on college campus-
es that allows many students to take
drinking too far, sometimes leading to
dangerous end, including death.
Changing the culture
Leaders of Michigan's 15 public universi-
ties gathered together Tuesday to develop
initiatives to
combat binge
drinking behav- "Drinking has
iors on their
college cam- Ontertarinm en
"Ds.rinking0totdo ometh
has become
entertainment that
and we need to
do something Director Michigan Depar
about that,"
Director of the Michigan Department of
Community Health James Haveman said at
the conference.
University presidents, administrators,
staff and students joined state officials to
focus on how to collectively decrease dan-
gerous binge drinking behaviors of college
students. Brought together by the Presidents
Council, an organization designed to dis-
cuss issues affecting the state's public col-
leges, the university leaders committed
themselves to try to change college stu-
dents' attitudes toward alcohol.
"We can change social behavior over time,"
Michigan State President Peter McPherson
Haveman announced that the Department of
Community Health will allot more than
$600,000 in state dollars to fund educational pro-
grams and training aimed at binge drinking.
Of that amount, $433,000 will fund five-week
mentoring programs at state universities focused
on alcohol and drug-free programs, some target-
ed at first-year students, Haveman said.
$50,000 of the total funding will help to train
health officials and $150,000 will fund a media
campaign to inform college students on the dan-
gers of alcohol and drugs.
Four deaths:
A call to action
Four deaths on three of Michigan's col-
lege campuses since October have catapult-
Trends In Binge Drinking,
1993- 1997 p1993

ed the issue college drinking into the
national spotlight, drawing the attention of
a national television magazine and con-
cerned educators across the country.
"Four deaths are enough and we need to
do something about it," Haveman said firm-
LSA first-year student Courtney Cantor
died Oct. 16 after falling from her sixth-
floor Mary Markley Residence Hall win-
According to Ann Arbor Police reports,
Cantor drank beer at a Phi Delta Theta fra-
ternity before her death. An autopsy report
determined Cantor's blood alcohol level was
below the legal limit and that traces of
Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate, commonly used
as a date rape drug, were found in her sys-
But Cantor's death was not the first alco-
hol-related death of a college student to
occur on a Michigan campus in recent

it and we need
ing about
- James Haveman
tment of Community Health

Two deaths
at Ferris State
University in
Big Rapids
were linked to
"This is a
topic on our
mind in Big
Rapids and at
Ferris State,"
Ferris State

President William Sederburg said.
Alan Hewer, who was not a Ferris State
student, died in December of alcohol poi-
soning after drinking at a sorority party in
Big Rapids.
Ferris State sophomore Adriane Allen
died Jan. 15. Allen fell out of her apartment
window after a night of heavy drinking.
In November, Michigan State
University's campus was shocked by the
death of junior Bradley McCue, who died on
his 21st birthday, after downing 24 shots in
fewer than two hours.
McCue was celebrating his birthday at the
East Lansing location of Rick's American
Cafe, whose liquor license will be suspend-
ed for one month starting Sunday.
Nate Smith-Tyge, chair of the Associated
Students of Michigan State University, told
conference participants that on the same
night McCue died, he took one of his friends
out for his 21st birthday.
"It really made us think," Smith-Tyge
Former University Interfraternity Council
President Brad Holcman, who also partici-
pated in the conference, said college stu-
dents need to realize that there are other
ways to celebrate.
"We've lost the notion of social drink-
ing," said Holcman, a Kinesiology senior.
"It can hardly be sexy or attractive ... to
be falling into bushes," McPherson said.
Holding up a pitcher of beer, former state
Rep. Jim McBryde, a special assistant for
drug policy in the Department for
Community Health said, "I watched college
students on a Thursday night considering
this a single serving and going back up for
Has the state declared
At the conference, Haveman presented 10
ways for the state to attack binge drinking,
including funding allocations for education-
al programs and stricter enforcement of
alcohol laws.
His proposals ranged from more extensive
training for residence hall advisers to
tougher action against students who receive
alcohol violations.
Smith-Tyge said although he encourages

A University residence hall room displays empty alcohol bottles and cases of beer. College students often display their empty bottles as a trophy of
how much they have consumed.

a decrease in dangerous drinking habits, he
is hesitant to support harsher penalties for
students who violate state drinking laws.
"I get a little apprehensive when I hear
calls for more enforcement," Smith-Tyge
Haveman said universities need to inform
parents and guardians when their children
receive alcohol infractions.
He said students who have binge drinking
behaviors should be either "dried out" or
Haveman also said resident advising is
another area that needs attention. Instead of
being a "buddy" to their residents, who
Haveman said often take a lax attitude to
infractions, resident advisers need to use
"tough love."
McBryde agreed with Haveman's tough
ideas to curb binge drinking, saying no
school in Michigan should offer an environ-
ment where students practice risky drinking
behaviors often.
"There are not going to be any party
schools," McBryde said.
Many people in the audience were taken
aback when Haveman asked why law
enforcement could not use "dogs to sniff out
the alcohol that isn't suppose to be there."
Michigan Student Assembly President
Trent Thompson said some of Haveman's
proposals were "pro-active" but others were
"Expelling people is not going to solve the
problem," Thompson said.
E. Royster Harper, University Dean of
Students and a conference panelist, said
Haveman made some good points. She sup-
ports the Department of Community
Health's funding allocations that will be
funneled into university alcohol programs.
"The funding always helps," Harper said.
In reaction to some of Haveman's other
state proposals, Harper said "we aren't
going to have dogs in the residence halls."
Glenn Stevens, executive director of the
Presidents Council, said Haveman's "strong
convictions" do not mean the state is launch-
ing a war on alcohol.
"I think that would be a misinterpretation,"
Stevens said.
Haveman said other ideas he has for
Michigan's college campuses include orien-
tation sessions for incoming first-year col-
lege students on the effects of drinking,
more alcohol alternatives and a comprehen-
sive Website.
McPherson and Haveman said state and
university officials also need to work with
local bars to limit patrons from excessive
"Someone needs to say 'hey, that's
enough,"' Haveman said.
He added that some alcohol advertising
contributes to college students' binge drink-
ing behaviors.
Sederburg said although advertising may
contribute to believe some underage drink-

Haveman also called on college newspa-
per editors to keep alcohol specials out of
their advertising.
initia ives
Many people in attendance at the confer-
ence reacted hesitantly to some of the state
Thompson and Smith-Tyge disagreed
with Haveman's recommendation to
increase enforcement of the state's existing
alcohol laws.
Smith-Tyge said the Zero-Tolerance law,
which was passed in 1995, has already
increased law enforcement for alcohol vio-
Under the law, police can prosecute minors
with a trace of alcohol in their bodies.
Since 1995, state police have broken-up
more parties and issued more minor in pos-
session infractions.
"In 1995, there was a 700-case jump in the
amount of MIPs written in East Lansing,"
Smith-Tyge said.
Thompson and Smith-Tyge both suggest-
ed that programs stressing education and
pro-active student involvement may do a
better job of cutting down on binge drink-
ing than an increase in law enforcement.
"You can talk about enforcement, but
that's not tackling any part of the issue of
binge drinking," Thompson said.
"It's going to take the cultural change of
the campus," he added.
Smith-Tyge and others said celebratory
drinking needs special attention. "There
needs to be alternatives so their 21st birth-
day isn't their last birthday," he said.
In reaction to binge drinking behaviors,
the University of Michigan and Michigan
State University have formed committees to
spearhead programs to address the issue of
binge drinking.
Last summer - prior to any of the recent
college deaths - University Vice President
of Student Affairs Maureen Hartford
formed the University's Binge Drinking
Task Force.
The task force has four sub-committees.
They include curriculum, policy, communi-
cation and prevention-education.
Director of the Office of New Student
Programs Ann Hower, who sits on the pre-
vention-education sub-committee, said
although many new students are "moderate
or non-drinkers, some students are still
going to experiment."
Hower said the task force is trying to gen-
erate better publicity of campus activities
that do not involve alcohol.
"We want to do an assessment of what
kind of activities are available and do a bet-
ter job of communicating them to students,"
she said.
Hower said members of the task force
plan to have a report and recommendations
on how the University can do a better job




Percent of
Students Who
Drank To Get


at the Michigan Union.
Thompson helped found the group
Students Active in Non-Alcoholic Events
(SANE), which holds weekend excursions
for students who promise not to drink for an
SANE held its first event at the Ann
Arbor Climbing Gym last month where
about 20 students spent the evening learn-
ing to rock climb. SANE will hold its next
activity later this month.
Thompson acknowledged the importance
of student and administrative involvement.
"You need student driven initiative,"
Thompson said. "But (University) President
(Lee) Bollinger has to take this as an issue."
At Michigan State, McPherson started the
President's Alcohol Action Team last May.
Smith-Tyge said the committee is work-
ing on a few projects, including reducing
the cost for students to attend events at the
campus' Breslin Center and increasing the
operating hours for three intramural facili-
The action team has also started Saferide,
which is equivalent to the University's Nite
Owl late night bus system.
"The drinking is still going to take place,
we just need to make sure that people can
get home safe," Smith-Tyge said.
The cooperation that the conference gen-
erated between leaders of the state's 15
public universities left many audience
members with a sense of optimism.
"It was a good way to talk about what we
can collectively do," Harper said.
At the conference, universities presented
programs that are in the process of being
implemented on their respective campuses.
Stevens said the collective thinking is
"There is strength in numbers," Stevens


Percent of
Reported To Be
Binge Drinkers

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