CHANGING THE CAMPUS DRINKING CULTURE:
HOUSE RESOLUTION TO REDUCE BINGE DRINKING
On December 11, Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-MA) proposed
a resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives aimed at changing the campus drinking
culture to support healthier student choices about alcohol. The "Collegiate
Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking" ( H. Res. 321 ) calls
on all college and university administrators to adopt a code of principles designed to
create a campus environment that de-emphasizes the role of heavy drinking in student life
(below). The Resolution notes that: many college presidents rank alcohol abuse as
the number one problem on campus; alcohol is a factor in the three leading causes of death
for 15-24 year olds; alcohol is involved in a large percentage of campus rapes, violent
crimes, student suicides, and fraternity "hazing" injuries; almost half (44%) of
all students qualify as binge drinkers; and heavy drinking causes problems for students
who drink and has "second hand" effects for other students.
Although it would not create a legally binding requirement for
college campuses, House Resolution 321, if supported by a majority of representatives,
would express the sense of the House that student drinking has become a national problem
that federal leadership can help address. No formal vote will be taken on the measure.
Members show their support by signing on to the Resolution.
Please contact your Representative and ask him or her to sign-on
to House Resolution 321, "The Collegiate Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking."
To send an e-mail on H. Res. 321 click
Remember that telephone calls are usually fielded by a staff member,
not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles alcohol or higher
education issues. After identifying yourself and the Resolution, briefly state the reasons
for your support and ask your Representative to support the Resolution. Ask your
Representative's office to contact Brandon Mitchell at Rep. Kennedy's office
If you decide to write a letter, please consider these tips from Roll
Call, a newspaper covering Congress:
- Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of
- Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using
examples to support your position.
- Address only one issue in the letter; and, if possible, keep the
letter to one page.
Please contact the Alcohol
Policies Project for further information about the Resolution or college drinking in
general, or by phone at 202-332-9110.
Please let us know of any responses you get.
"The Collegiate Initiative to Reduce Binge
Sec. 2. Sense of the House of Representatives.
It is the sense of the House of Representatives that, in an effort
to change the culture of alcohol consumption on college campuses, all college and
university administrators should adopt the following code of principles:
(1) For an institution of higher education, the president of the
institution shall appoint a task force consisting of school administrators, faculty,
students, Greek system representatives, and others to conduct a full examination of
student and academic life at the institution. The task force will make recommendations for
a broad range of policy and program changes that would serve to reduce alcohol and other
drug-related problems. The institution shall provide resources to assist the task force in
promoting the campus policies and proposed environmental changes that have been
(2) The institution shall provide maximum opportunities for students
to live in an alcohol-free environment and to engage in stimulating, alcohol-free
recreational and leisure activities.
(3) The institution shall enforce a "zero tolerance"
policy for the illegal consumption of alcohol by its students and will take steps to
reduce the opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to legally consume
alcohol on campus.
(4) The institution shall vigorously enforce its code of
disciplinary sanctions for those who violate campus alcohol policies. Students with
alcohol or other drug-related problems shall be referred to an on-campus counseling
(5) The institution shall adopt a policy of eliminating alcoholic
beverage-related sponsorship of on-campus activities. It shall adopt policies limiting the
advertisement and promotion of alcoholic beverages on campus.
(6) Recognizing that school-centered policies on alcohol will be
unsuccessful if local businesses sell alcohol to underage or intoxicated students, the
institution shall form a "Town/Gown" alliance with community leaders. That
alliance shall encourage local commercial establishments that promote or sell alcoholic
beverages to curtail illegal student access to alcohol and adopt responsible alcohol
marketing and service practices."