A C T I O N   A L E R T

On March 5, Senator Joseph R. Biden (D-DE) proposed a resolution of the U.S. Senate aimed at changing the campus drinking culture to support healthier student choices about alcohol. The "Collegiate Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking" (S. Res. 192) calls on all institutions of higher education to adopt a code of principles designed to create a campus environment that de-emphasizes the role of heavy drinking in student life (below). Like U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 321 introduced by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy in December, S. Res. 192 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 on many others.

Although it would not create a legally binding requirement for college campuses, S.Res. 192, if supported by a majority of senators, would express the sense of the Senate that student drinking has become a national problem that federal leadership can help address.

Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to sign-on to Senate Resolution 192, "The Collegiate Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking."

Remember that telephone calls are usually fielded by a staff member, not the Senator. 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 Senator to support the Resolution. Ask your Senator's office to contact Matthew Baumgart at Sen. Biden's office (224-5042).

If you decide to write a letter, please consider these tips from Roll Call, a newspaper covering Congress:

1. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter.

2. Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.

3. Address only one issue in the letter; and, if possible, keep the letter to one page.

Senate Resolution 192
"The Collegiate Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking"

Sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE)
March 5, 1998


It is the sense of the Senate that, in an effort to change the culture of alcohol consumption on college campuses, all institutions of higher education should carry out the following:

    (1) The president of the institution should 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 should make recommendations for a broad range of policy and program changes that would serve to reduce alcohol and other drug-related problems. The institution should provide resources to assist the task force in promoting the campus policies and proposed environmental changes that have been identified.

    (2) The institution should 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 should enforce a `zero tolerance' policy on the illegal consumption of alcohol by its students and should take steps to reduce the opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to legally consume alcohol on campus.

    (4) The institution should vigorously enforce its code of disciplinary sanctions for those who violate campus alcohol policies. Students with alcohol or other drug-related problems should be referred to an on-campus counseling program.

    (5) The institution should adopt a policy of eliminating alcoholic beverage-related sponsorship of on-campus activities. The institution should 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 should form a "Town/Gown" alliance with community leaders. That alliance should 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.

To view a sample letter, click here.

March 20, 1998