January 9, 1998


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 here.

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 (202/225-5111).

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 the letter.
  • 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.

House Resolution 321

"The Collegiate Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking"

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 identified.

(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 program.

(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."