Harvard College administrators committed yesterday to participate in a Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) campaign to curb binge drinking on college campuses state-wide.
Associate Dean of the College David P. Illingworth ’71 and administrators from dozens of other schools attended a ceremony at the University of Massachusetts–Boston, during which they signed onto the campaign’s “action plan.” The plan focuses on both disciplinary and educational measures to combat excessive student drinking.
But it remains unclear how strictly the College will follow the plan, which includes calls for substance-free housing and alcohol-education classes for members of all student organizations. Harvard currently allows drinking in the Houses and does not mandate alcohol-education classes for student group members.
“At the very least, we are supportive of the spirit of the commitment, and we will look at each of the guidelines and how they apply to us,” said Robert Mitchell, spokesperson for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “It’s really a guideline.”
At Boston University—a school known for its strict alcohol policies—officials said they stand staunchly behind the campaign.
“We have very highs standards here,” said BU spokesperson Colin Riley. “We hold students accountable to the [full extent] of the law.”
Riley said that many of the action plan’s recommendations have already been enacted at BU. He highlighted the school’s disciplinary procedure, which includes notifying parents of all alcohol-related infractions.
A previous such DPH campaign was launched following a 1997 incident involving first-year MIT student Scott Krueger, who died of alcohol poisoning after attending a fraternity event.
MIT, which also signed the action plan, began assigning first-year students to on-campus housing this September for the first time.
—Staff writer David S. Hirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.