Emory to Update Alcohol Policy

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Campus Life is planning to update the University’s alcohol and drug abuse policy to simplify the process for serving alcohol at graduate student and faculty events.

The policy changes were prompted by the Biennial Review Committee, a task force that reviews the University’s alcohol policy every two years, as required by federal law.

Committee co-Chair and Campus Life Senior Director for Community Michael Shutt said the committee is considering removing a mandatory age-verification plan for student organization events that serve alcohol if an event host knows all attendees are over 21.

Under the current policy, graduate student and faculty-only events must have age-verification plans, like an EmoryCard reader, which Shutt said was not necessary in most cases.

“The majority of graduate and professional student organizations are going to be hosting events with people over 21,” Shutt said. “[The committee] started talking about how we take away some of these extra steps when we know there are going to be 21-year-olds there.”

These student organizations are chartered by student government and must obtain approval from the Office of Student Leadership and Service to purchase the alcohol.

Shutt said the committee should also update University policy to reflect a Georgia law that restricts the sale of alcohol on-campus. This law disallows charging a cover fee for a campus event that serves alcohol.

Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) Chief of Staff Alys Brown (19L) agrees that the University’s policy needs revision but said she doesn’t currently see much difficulty in planning small events that serve alcohol.

“People aren’t sure exactly what needs to be done. I think streamlining it will make it a bit more beneficial to students,” Brown said. “I think the issues that arise are at larger events.”

Committee co-Chair and Assistant Professor of Psychology Rohan Palmer said the online version of the policy contains outdated links to external resources for counseling about alcohol and drug abuse that should be updated.

Shutt said the committee has been drafting updates to the policy since Fall 2018 and plans to finish the final edits this month. Revisions will be submitted to the Campus Life Executive Leadership Team for approval, Shutt said.

If approved, implementation will occur over the summer in preparation for the 2019-20 academic year.

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