Clarifying the College's Policy on Alcohol

Letters

The deaths this fall of several college students, one an MIT first-year, have reminded the Harvard community that no one is invulnerable to the dangers of abuse of alcohol. We take this occasion to amplify the expressions of caution and concern that have been voiced regularly by University officials, most recently by the masters and the Dean of Freshmen at the beginning of this academic year and by the Dean of Students earlier this month. We are determined to find and utilize every effective means to prevent a tragic injury or death from occurring at Harvard, and we call on the student community to join in conversation to help develop methods of prevention and response.

(1) Our first concern is for the health and safety of students. Counselling and support are available for students who are concerned about their own drinking behavior. Call either the University Health Services (5-2042; emergency number 5-5711) or the Bureau of Study Counsel (5-2581) to seek advice, counselling and help. Excessive drinking is often a consequence of deeper emotional or psychological problems; it is not a sign of weakness to seek help in confronting them. Peer counselors can also give valuable and confidential support: Room 13 (5-4969, Grays Basement) can talk with you about any problem.

(2) Intoxication is associated with every form of adverse social behavior occurring at Harvard: physical violence, sexual assault, disturbance of the peace and other antisocial acts. Students whose judgment has not been impaired by alcohol or drugs rarely commit such offenses.

(3) Consequently, students who frequent places where heavy drinking occurs are placing themselves in danger of physical assault, sexual violence and other forms of harm.

(4) When excessive or illegal drinking has occurred, ordinary and universal human values are not abrogated. Care should be given to persons in distress, under any circumstances.

(5) Loss of consciousness is a medical emergency. Seek medical attention for an unconscious individual by calling UHS Urgent Care (5-5711), or by dialing 5-1212 for police transport to UHS or 911 to summon an ambulance. Information on care of intoxicated persons is on the UHS Web site, http://www.uhs.harvard.edu.

(6) Student medical records are confidential. Students will not be subject to College discipline for violation of alcohol regulations as a result of seeking medical care for intoxication or having medical care sought on their behalf.

(7) Students need not endure in silence the disruptions caused by their roommates' persistent drinking. Contact your tutor, proctor, senior tutor or assistant dean of freshmen for advice on how to help your roommate and yourself. Or call the Bureau of Study Counsel for advice on dealing with a friend who is abusing alcohol.

(8) Enforcement of state law, Cambridge city ordinances and College regulations are aspects of ongoing efforts to control alcohol abuse. Discussions in recent days with city officials have led to clarification of jurisdictional issues and to renewed commitment to enforcement by both the College and the city.

(9) The masters, senior tutors and the Dean and assistant deans of freshmen have reviewed College regulations concerning parties, deliveries of kegs to the Houses and use of Beverage Authorization Teams to ensure that underage drinkers will not be served at Harvard functions. Each undergraduate received at registration a complete compendium (the "Drug Tome") of relevant information about state and federal law, College regulations and the sanctions for violating them and medical resources and procedures. Students with questions about these matters should consult the office of the Dean of Students.

(10) Final clubs are not recognized or regulated by Harvard College, and students are cautioned that functions occurring at these institutions may be disorderly and dangerous. The Police Commissioner of the City of Cambridge last week advised the trustees of these institutions of the city's intention to monitor and enforce alcohol regulations at the clubs. We join with the city in urging the graduate officers of the final clubs to provide adequate security and supervision at the establishments for which they are responsible.

(11) Underage students who are found, as a result of enforcement efforts by Cambridge or Harvard University Police, to be intoxicated will be subject to discipline by the Administrative Board.

(12) Students are also warned of the dangers in which they may be placing themselves by attending parties in other places where heavy drinking occurs and supervision by responsible adults is lacking. These include fraternities, whether associated unofficially with Harvard or neighboring colleges.

(13) Establishments in the Harvard Square area which are licensed to sell alcohol have also been called upon by the city to help in efforts to prevent underage drinking. The College urges that carding be strict at bars, package stores and other establishments selling alcoholic beverages in Cambridge or Boston.

(14) Students found to be producing, possessing or using fake IDs will be disciplined by the College and may also be subject to arrest.

(15) Athletic teams, singing groups and other student organizations are cautioned to observe all relevant regulations prohibiting underage drinking, hazing and related practices. Coaches, team captains and presidents of student organizations are urged to exercise responsible leadership in preventing dangerous and illegal drinking by these groups. We ask that this statement be discussed in these groups.

(16) Alcohol abuse will be on the agenda for a variety of constituted student and student-faculty Committees this fall, including the Committee on College Life, the Committee on House Life and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Key University officials, including the masters, the senior tutors, the Dean and assistant deans of freshmen, the Director of Athletics, the Director of the University Health Services, the Director of the Bureau of Study Counsel and the Chief of the Harvard University Police, all stand ready to assist in discussions of Harvard's policies and procedures with respect to alcohol. Project ADD (6-1214 for resource information, 5-9629 for help with education) is an undergraduate peer education group whose mission is to increase awareness of alcohol and other drugs on campus.

We call on student groups, house committees, tutors, proctors and other members of the University community to utilize all University resources to ensure responsible behavior in the use of alcohol. --Harry R. Lewis '68,   Dean of Harvard College;   Archie C. Epps III,   Dean of Students