The Gatepost Editorial: FSU finally sobering up on student drinking

Naively conceived and nearly draconian in nature, FSU’s longstanding policy on student alcohol consumption has been in need of an overhaul for quite some time. Until just this fall, many inebriated FSU students feared that requesting assistance for a seriously intoxicated friend could leave them subject to harsh judicial punishments.

That is both shameful and frightening.

Over 200 universities and colleges across the country have already instituted medical amnesty policies in the last few years, according to the Students for Sensible Drug Policy website. Among those institutions of higher education are Harvard University, Yale University, Boston College, University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Gatepost editors are sadly far too familiar with the devastating effects alcohol can have on students. We have covered a number fights, deaths and sexual assaults – all involving alcohol – in the last several years.

So just how big of an issue is student drinking? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAA], “About four out of five college students drink alcohol” and “about half” of those students “consumed alcohol through binge drinking.” The NIAA website defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men– in about 2 hours.”

The website goes on to state, “1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries” and “[m]ore than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol- related sexual assault or date rape.”

Thankfully, the policymakers at FSU have come to their senses and amended the University’s alcohol policy. Over the last few years, The Gatepost has stressed the importance of reforming the overly strict alcohol policy and editorialized that adding a medical amnesty clause could potentially save student’s lives.

During a meeting with Gatepost editors last year, FSU President F. Javier Cevallos said he would be advocating for the implementation of a medical amnesty clause to the University’s alcohol policy.

We thank President Cevallos for keeping his word, and we commend the other members of the administration who have embraced a common sense and potentially life-saving approach to dealing with student drinking on campus.

Whether you drink or not, we at The Gatepost believe all FSU students should obtain a copy of the 2015-16 Ram Student Handbook and turn to page 89. Commit this information to memory, as you never know when you will need it and possibly save a life.

Unfortunately, The Gatepost may be the only way students will become aware of the new medical amnesty policy. Inexplicably, no notice has been sent out to students regarding the update to the University’s alcohol policy.

Why the University has remained mum on its decision to protect student lives by amending its alcohol policy is baffling. The FSU administration should be proud of this decision and, quite honestly, Dean of Students Melinda Stoops, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct Glenn Cochran, along with President Cevallos, should be inundating student email inboxes with news of this policy amendment

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