Sept. 14, 2007
Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention
meets with Greek representatives
The Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention met this week with eight
representatives from Greek organizations, including both leaders and lower
The Task Force has spent much of its earlier
meetings gathering information about the administration’s current
efforts to affect alcohol and drug use on campus and compared what SMU
is doing to what happens at other campuses.
Now the Task Force will be
talking with people from various groups on campus, beginning with one of
the most important groups, the Greek organizations, both for their
knowledge of campus life and for their abilities to organize. Rumors to
the contrary, the Task Force had not yet discussed Greek organizations,
much less decided what approach if any should be taken towards them.
What occurred was a remarkably open discussion of the state of affairs
on campus. The students talked about, among other things, what had
drawn them to Greek life and its importance on campus, how they have
addressed alcohol use among their members, the complications of rush,
and problems such as the pervasiveness of fake IDs.
emerged from the discussion. One was that in the aftermath of last
year’s deaths, the level of awareness of alcohol and drug problems on
campus has risen greatly. As a consequence, many of the Greek chapters
have instituted new policies and have increased enforcement of old
policies. At least one organization now has a zero-tolerance policy for
All have some policy for dealing internally with alcohol
violations. Most also recognized that alcohol abuse by first-year
students was a big problem — partially related to rush practices — and one
that did not have the internal regulation that the organizations
provide. Given that there have been 11 hospitalizations this term for
excessive alcohol consumption, including students from first-year dorms,
and 148 alcohol violations reported by the police, the message that
alcohol can be dangerous is not reaching many students.
visitors to the Task Force pointed out that most students pay little
attention to alcohol education delivered by the University, particularly
the online Alcohol 101. As time drew to a close, the question that
emerged was how the Greek organizations can become effectively involved
with moderating the drinking of first-year students, both through their
own practices and by reaching out on their own. Discussion suggests
that the Greek organizations will need to play a central role in the
Task Force’s eventual recommendations.
It was announced that the “Live Responsibly” site now
has a “Comments”
page where anyone can write to and about the Task Force’s work.
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