BU Today

Health & Wellness

New Crackdown on Alcohol Abuse

University to publicize weekly citations, hospital runs

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BU campus drinking statistics

Results of BU’s stepped-up alcohol enforcement, which began last weekend. Graphic by Joe Chan. Photos by Kristyn Ulanday

BU began a beefed-up campaign against alcohol abuse last weekend, bolstering police patrols of known party neighborhoods, citing students for public intoxication, dispersing loud parties—and, crucially, publicizing statistics on the booze-control efforts by University, Boston, and Brookline police.

Modeled on successful efforts at the University of California, the program aims to discourage dangerous drinking. Last weekend, Boston police broke up seven loud parties, some of them hosting up to 100 people. The BU Police Department, meanwhile, transported 10 students to the hospital for acute intoxication, gave a dozen summonses to minors for drinking, and put a student who refused to go to the hospital in protective custody, a procedure where a drunken person is overseen for several hours until he sobers up. Brookline police cited one BU student for excessive noise.

The new efforts are the result of a grim statistic from the past academic year: 250 students, most of them freshmen, went to the hospital for acute intoxication. The University hopes to convey to students that “we’re not trying to keep you from having fun, but you need to keep it under control,” says David McBride, director of Student Health Services.

BU will gather other data, such as the number of officers and hours devoted to patrols, as part of the University’s participation in the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking, a 31-school partnership sharing tactics for curbing binge drinking.

“Hopefully, students will recognize that there’s going to be a higher police presence and perhaps make decisions based on that,” McBride says. By publicizing numbers, “it’s visible to students, so that before the weekend, they look and say, ‘Gosh, 50 people were cited for public intoxication or have to appear in court. Maybe I won’t go out this weekend; maybe I’ll do something on campus.’” The legal drinking age is 21 in Massachusetts.

Middle East bar and nightclub

The University has used similar enforcement measures “in varying degrees” in the past, but “it’s being done in earnest this year,” McBride says. “For example, BU pays Boston police to patrol the Gardner Street–Ashford Street–Pratt Street neighborhood,” known as GAP, near the Track and Tennis Center and West Campus. “There’s going to be a marked cruiser in that neighborhood,” he says, “issuing citations, talking to people having loud parties, and gathering information about what’s going on.” The BUPD will boost its presence on the part of campus bordering GAP as well. Bike and foot patrols by Brookline police will cover areas in that town that abut campus, including St. Paul Street and the Dexter Park apartment complex, Pleasant Street, and Freeman Street. Brookline and BU police have also spent time during recent weekends in neighborhoods “talking with students about what officials’ expectations are, before the big partying happens,” says McBride.

He says that the University also is encouraging authorities to monitor bars for alcohol sales to underage patrons, especially targeting those with a history of violations.

Alcohol-related hospital transports spike during the first two months of the academic year, as academic workloads are not yet heavy and many freshmen face their first exposure to alcohol, so the University is focusing its efforts on the beginning of the semester, according to McBride.

The California effort found support in a study in 2005 and 2006 that compared seven UC campuses that tried the enforcement with seven others that didn’t. Researchers found “significant reductions in the incidence and likelihood of intoxication at off-campus parties and bars/restaurants” for the campuses using the enforcement procedures—and that the stricter the enforcement, the greater the effects.

Drinking on campus

“This is all part of a comprehensive plan to address high-risk drinking on campus” that includes education efforts, highlighted by publicizing stats, McBride says. The University recently cosponsored a training session for local drink servers in recognizing and cutting off patrons who’ve drunk too much, the second such session recently. BU will shortly email to students its iHealth questionnaire, which seeks to dispel their often mistakenly inflated estimates of how much their peers drink.

Two weeks ago, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87) emailed students about University policies, including alcohol regulations. The Office of Judicial Affairs has a training program for students to learn how to intervene when a peer is “in trouble” from alcohol—for example, if they’re inebriated or at risk of sexual assault after having drunk too much, McBride says.

President Robert A. Brown stressed alcohol policy and safety in his Matriculation speech to freshmen and in emails to parents urging them to discuss the dangers of excessive drinking with their students before the start of the school year.

BU Today will publish highlights of the previous weekend’s enforcement statistics each Thursday.

64 Comments
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

64 Comments on New Crackdown on Alcohol Abuse

  • Nathan Storm on 09.16.2011 at 8:59 am

    Is this is a mis-quote, mis-speak or misunderstanding on Director McBride’s part?

    Following tactics from a research report that found “significant reductions in the incidence and likelihood of intoxication at off-campus parties and bars/restaurants”

    is not consistent with “… a comprehensive plan to address high-risk drinking on campus”

    • A on 09.16.2011 at 11:04 am

      Let the kids play! The police should be more focused on the rapists and murders that plague the city as opposed to the idiot who can’t handle is liquor. Receiving a summons for underage drinking is a great move…let us clog the court system more so that justice is never received by those who need it the most. Why don’t you crack down on the slum lords in the area who take advantage of their tenants? Find a more productive use of BU tuition money and tax dollars please….

  • Nik on 09.16.2011 at 9:19 am

    I really doubt this is going to stop kids from going out and drinking. If anything it will just make them go to other places that are safter to drink like Northeastern, Boston College, Tufts, ect. or be more discreet about their drinking. Having taken classes at UC Berkeley this summer and having 20 tail-gate parties be busted the first week of school for their game against Fresno state, I’d really be interested in the author linking to the actual study that concludes how successful said program was at stopping underage drinking. My friends at various other UCs including Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Davis report similar things. While the university has a responsibility to promote alcohol safety on campus, I think it’s out of bounds to use our tuition money to pay police to patrol off campus neighborhoods purely for the sake of underage drinking.

    • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.16.2011 at 10:09 am

      BUPD is already charged with the enforcement of the university grounds and surrounding neighborhoods. They are already patrolling those neighborhoods, it just seems like somewhat more emphasis is being given toward alcohol abuse now.

      • Tom on 09.19.2011 at 9:47 am

        Nik is not talking about BUPD, it said in the article that BU is paying Boston police to patrol West Campus.

  • Jon on 09.16.2011 at 9:20 am

    Sounds like a good plan, but I hope none of this will discourage anyone from taking an overly intoxicated friend to the hospital. The headline of the article led me to be concerned about that, but the article itself was unclear on the issue. I think you want to provide some level of amnesty for those who go to the hospital voluntarily without police involvement. I know this info is protected by HIPPA and other privacy laws, but I think sanctions can sometimes be imposed after the fact and stemming from word of mouth. Or at least some students don’t know enough to not be concerned about this, so it would be good to clarify.

  • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.16.2011 at 9:23 am

    I’m all for people having some drinks, enjoying themselves, and getting a little wild but when they’re trashed out of their mind and need to be hospitalized, it’s time to sober up and grow up.

  • Deanna Archetto on 09.16.2011 at 9:40 am

    It’s hard to expect much immediate change when there is a new batch of impressionable freshmen every year. And those stereotypes about wild college parties are doing their job in making those kids think this is the norm and part of the college experience. I think the increased Boston PD surveillance will be an improvement, but telling kids to have “fun, but you need to keep it under control,” is an oxymoron to these kids.

  • Ryan Pope on 09.16.2011 at 10:14 am

    This is one of the reasons why the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Impressionable freshman are impressionable freshman, and they’re going to at least try to do stupid things with alcohol regardless of what the police do. If they could legally drink, they would at least be at a bar where a bartender can cut them off, rather than an off campus party high on booze and low on responsibility.

  • Cynthia on 09.16.2011 at 10:25 am

    I live in a quiet neighborhood where many students live. I let all my neighbors know that I don’t mind partying, but let a party be on an occasional weekend and let them be respectful, i.e., relatively quiet after midnight. I also let them know that if they are out of control at any time during the party, I will call the police to put a stop to it. I will not pound on a door to be heard and provide a warning. If anyone lives in my neighborhood, he/she must behave like a considerate, mature adult. If a student would prefer to behave inconsiderately, he/she should choose to live in a dorm where the university can handle the problem. In fact, I like my student neighbors!

  • Paul on 09.16.2011 at 10:37 am

    I find it ridiculous that BU is using their tuition money to fund off campus police to crackdown on drinking. The town/district collects money to fund its police force from taxes. It is a travesty that BU keeps raising tuition to spend it outside the university. The students should not have to pay to augment various towns’ police forces.

    • This again? on 09.16.2011 at 11:51 am

      There are many universities just in this city not to mention the rest of the country. People seem to choose to attend BU regardless of the tuition. Maybe pick a school with lower tuition rates?

      • Nik on 09.16.2011 at 3:05 pm

        It has nothing to do with whether one can afford tuition or not. It’s irresponsible of BU to spend our tuition on something as this in which they have no business doing. If I’m going to give BU money I want it to go to my education, not so we have can more patrols in Allston.

        • Yourdad on 09.16.2011 at 8:11 pm

          Nik, I’m a freshman’s dad. 90% of the students at BU are getting help from parents to pay tuition, room & board. I assume you fall into that 90%. Parents want their kids safe. We don’t want our kids in the hospital or dead from alcohol poisoning. If this new policy makes my son think twice about having that 10th beer, then I’m all for it. I know kids who died from drinking too much. Please don’t say what “your” money should get you unless it’s really your money. You’ll understand in 25 years when you’re paying for your child’s college education.

          • germdoctor on 09.17.2011 at 1:58 pm

            Right behind you man, 110% in support of what you said. As the old saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Getting to go to BU and live in Boston is a privilege. Misuse it and…well, there’s always the local community college back home.

          • Seb on 09.28.2011 at 4:58 pm

            Yourdad – If you feel that your son needs a police force to compensate for his incompetence in understanding his limits, there may be better ways for you to spend 50+ thousand on him. My family is not interested in contributing to the salaries of those in place to control your sons behavior.

      • alum on 09.20.2011 at 8:00 pm

        Yourdad – why does your son require the police to stop him from abusing alcohol? Maybe he’s too young to be on his own or maybe you haven’t done your part as a parent.

    • Alumni on 09.29.2011 at 10:40 am

      Agreed. The money should be funding other things. If someone isn’t grown up enough to handle themselves, then it is the system (law) that has failed them, not a lack of funding for “alcohol enforcement officials”

  • Tom on 09.16.2011 at 11:03 am

    My opinion: The drinking age should be 18, and this effort is a waste of my tuition money. You’re only fostering the idea of alcohol as a forbidden fruit, which will inevitably make people desire it more.

    Protip: While BUPD can legally detain you, security guards such as the ones at Warren or West cannot. If they want to send you to the hospital, just walk away. They can’t stop you. If you really need to get to a hospital, don’t be stupid. Take care of yourself. It’s time to take a little personal responsibility, and stop letting the Uni take care of all your needs for you.

    • Tom on 09.16.2011 at 11:12 am

      Rereading my comment, I want to clarify something before someone misinterprets me: I mean to say that you should absolutely go to a hospital…if you need it. The Uni tends to be overly protective on this issue, and will call police/ambulance on people who really don’t need to go, but still get stuck with an unnecessary ambulance bill.

      • Nathan Storm on 09.16.2011 at 11:28 am

        Tom – I believe the public drinking age should be more like PG-13. Over 18 when not supervised by a parent or guardian.

        My 11 & 13 yr old did fine drinking (with parents) in Italy restaurants. This including choosing NOT to drink a couple of times when one or more adults had a glass of wine.

        The reality is that college students are not equiped to take personal responsibility unless their parents have trained them to take responsibility, and modeled responsible behaviour in their own life.

        • Tom on 09.16.2011 at 11:44 am

          I agree with you completely, I just tend to default to 18 because I believe it will take baby steps to get there from a legislative standpoint. 18 is pretty easy justify to a lot of people. It highlights the issue of age discrimination rather than just the issue of personal accountability.

    • _joe on 09.16.2011 at 11:32 am

      I love you for using the word “Protip”

    • Brian on 09.19.2011 at 4:28 pm

      They can’t detain you, but they can ask for your ID and it’s in the lifebook that you have to provide it. If you don’t, you’ll face the same conduct sanctions that you would have (and more) if you had given your ID. The cameras are there for a reason, friend.

  • John on 09.16.2011 at 11:11 am

    BU I commend your ability to establish an even further disconnect between administration and the students. Increasing surveillance, posting these threatening articles, putting the next generation of people in the working world in increased jeopardy of citations and serious consequences-what are you really accomplishing? is this where the $50,000 goes that I watch my parents struggle to pay every year? or is it the $600 in books I pay every semester out of my own pocket because God forbid last year’s edition be applicable to this year. If you’re “not trying to keep us from having fun” then why don’t you show some alternatives? what do you actually offer that’s fun on campus? where are the concerts? why aren’t their shows on BU Beach? Why are there not shows on Nickerson? Why do you not unite the school for the hockey games when the team is top 15 every year? Stop trying to be a parent and start being a school. Look at everything that UPENN offers in a city campus, those are the facts. So when you sleep peacefully at night knowing that you’ve increased police surveillance to “protect the students” understand that you are doing nothing to actually improve yourself as a school.

    • _joe on 09.16.2011 at 11:23 am

      Dear John,

      • Concerts are at BU Central

      • We unite the school at these things called “games” where you pick up your FREE tickets from the stadium prior to the game.

      • It’s frakken cold on BU Beach, so everyone typically goes to the ‘dice or TT’s or Middle East or House of Blues or Cambridge Commons or the Hong Kong or anywhere else in the city to get their kicks.

      http://tinyurl.com/3k4uzhv

      That is all.

      • Chad on 09.16.2011 at 11:46 am

        Yeah, okay joe…

        Concerts with D-class artists aren’t real concerts. And most of the ones put on are organized by Greek organizations for philanthropy purposes. And our “Spring Concert” which is huge at every other school around the country is usually some scrub like the worse of the 2 members of a rap group from 10 years ago (Big Boi) and it’s not even held on campus, but at the House of Blues (While Agganis is one of the best venues in all of Boston)

        Just because BU gives us FREE tickets doesn’t mean they promote it at all. There should be some kind of buzz around hockey games besides stupid things like “First 200 fans get a free BU Hockey pencil!”

        And yea, its obviously cold on BU Beach. That’s the only thing I agree with.

      • Mike on 09.16.2011 at 2:19 pm

        The tickets are also not free. Like everything else, BU charges a “sports pass” to your student account.

        • Tom on 09.19.2011 at 10:30 am

          Protip: Correct, the tickets are not free, but you can decline the sports pass. I declined the sports pass as an undergrad and they still gave me free tickets. I actually tried to buy a ticket the first time I went, explaining that my dad had waived the sports pass. They explained to me like I was an idiot that all students get free tickets haha.

    • This again? on 09.16.2011 at 11:48 am

      “The new efforts are the result of a grim statistic from the past academic year: 250 students, most of them freshmen, went to the hospital for acute intoxication. The University hopes to convey to students that ‘we’re not trying to keep you from having fun, but you need to keep it under control,'”

      What about this is threatening? A growing number of students are legitimately out of control, given this statistic. I hardly doubt your parents would rather this continue to spiral out of hand.

      As for the book prices, that has no place in this article. Besides which, plenty of professors are willing to accommodate older editions of books if they are available and that the new texts have not diverged significantly from the old content. A great many students at BU pay far less than $600 a semester for books as well. And tuition, everyone is able to view the financial situation of the university, where money is spent, and how it is utilized in the yearly Annual Report, there’s even a PDF that segments money flow in broad categories: http://www.bu.edu/ar/

      And on one hand you want the school to act more like a university, and on the other you want shows on school property. There are tons of events every week: http://www.bu.edu/calendar/ and Agganis Arena brings larger events to the university.

      • Tom on 09.19.2011 at 10:38 am

        Who says this is going to spiral out of hand? Maybe it’s a growing problem because the number of students enrolled each year continues to grow even though BU has a high student/teacher ratio and is constantly running out of dorm rooms and classrooms. I think those parents of responsible students would object to this use of tuition.

        • This again? on 09.19.2011 at 12:38 pm

          You should look above to the two parents who have commented in approval of this choice.

  • Daniel Kallen on 09.16.2011 at 11:12 am

    Im sorry, but this is retarded. No one is going to read this article and think, ‘hey, maybe I should stop drinking’. This only causes kids to be more discreet about their drinking, and if anything, it can possibly put them in a more dangerous situation because kids are just going to go farther and farther away from campus to get drunk, making it harder for them to safely get home. My family doesn’t pay the steep tuition it takes to attend BU to fund some inexperienced kid’s incarceration, or so some cop can bust a party on a noise complaint.

    • Rupert Manlove on 09.16.2011 at 11:29 am

      “This only causes kids to be more discreet about their drinking, and if anything, it can possibly put them in a more dangerous situation because kids are just going to go farther and farther away from campus to get drunk”

      And that’s a problem?

      • Daniel Kallen on 09.16.2011 at 11:45 am

        Which do you think is a safer situation: A student being drunk on campus or in the city?

        • Rupert Manlove on 09.16.2011 at 2:24 pm

          Trick question: the campus IS the city

  • nick on 09.16.2011 at 11:37 am

    maybe this should be about how to drink, not what is being done to prevent it.

    more cops out, larger enforcement, means more fun getting wasted. sad but true.

    also who chose the pictures for this article? should maybe be of someone throwing up not chatting up a girl at a bar or some sick mixed drink… looks really good if anyone knows what it is plz let me know

    • nick on 09.16.2011 at 11:38 am

      another note, the fact that BU only found 12 underage drinkers to issue citations is laughable

  • Anne on 09.16.2011 at 11:58 am

    I can understand BU’s intent and I think this is a good step towards promoting student safety. Obviously it’s not going to solve the problem, because young college kids have so many insecurities and problems that of course they all want to drink their faces off. Getting fined or summoned sucks and its not going to stop students from continuing to drink, but it will help keep it under control and also be useful for other students or non students living in these neighborhoods who would like some peace and quiet every now and then.

    NaI am also hopeful that this will help with the rape and sexual violence issue we have in these students. Large parties are often the most out of control, and the easiest place to take advantage of the girls who may have had one too many. Also these parties have kegs and jungle juice in giant tubs which guys can easily slip drugs into. I know because it happened to me.

    So thanks BU for caring about your students and making efforts to make college more safe.

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2011 at 1:03 pm

    ^ Anne. I can understand where your coming from, but this itself is a spawn of BU pushing fraternities off campus. Unlike MIT where parties are regulated and controlled BU parties are forced to happen away from the eyes of authority. The problems you describe are also not as common as you think. Many fraternities now have dedicated shifts of members whom they use to make sure everything is going smoothly. This includes ensuring that drink containers are locked and all mixed drinks are made in front of the person ordering it. I have no idea how one slips drugs into a keg.
    BU needs to reconsider moving parties back on campus through greek life. While many of the top fraternities have become more responsible and organized, however, many freshmen are unable to distinguish.

  • Mike P on 09.16.2011 at 1:18 pm

    When is someone going to call out BU on its ridiculously backwards drinking policies? Where is the Free Press on this? Where is our student government. Hell, I’ll write an editorial.

    Instead of funding this “crackdown” and giving people fraudulent tickets for drinking on their front porch (yes this happened to a friend of mine), why not look at why underclassmen are being put in these unsafe situations. Simply put, it’s because there is no alternative. The BU dormitories seems to have an underage drinking policy akin to Saudi Arabia: it is illegal and wrong and must be stopped at all costs. Sophomore year, someone I knew got caught with about 10 people having drinks in their brownstone room. They weren’t being overly rowdy or unsafe, they were just socializing. You know, doing what college kids do. What followed was practically a witch hunt: everyone was called separately by the head of Danielsen Hall, forced to rat out their friends, and given a pretty steep fine. All this for students with a good academic record and no prior offenses. That’s a joke.

    Whether BU likes or not, college drinking is a reality. It is something that can have many positive social effects to students’ lives. It can also have many negative effects as well, ones that are much more likely to be highlighted in an unfamiliar off-campus party than in a safe, controlled environment of the dorms. Do many people know why the drinking age was raised to 21? It was to reduce drunk driving accidents, not because it was deemed immoral for 18-20 year olds to drink. I can’t say that will be a huge problem for our freshman and sophomore population, particularly with our $1000/semester parking rates.

    So BU I challenge you to this: Stop forcing freshmen to go to Allston to actually have fun. Make RAs and security be a resource that students can go for help rather than a power force to be feared. Many other schools have “chem-free” and “quiet” floors and dorms designed for students that do not like the partying life style. Why not try something like that, instead of making all rooms de facto chem free. I understand not allowing kegs to be brought in Stuvi but can I bring a damn 30 rack without having to hide it, especially as I am of legal age? Not that I’d ever pay the ridiculous housing rates here.

    I’m saying all this because I am a transfer student, so I have seen how the other side works. I came from a small liberal arts school in Maine, and there the security worked with students and partying was controlled. I realize this is much more difficult in a macro-school in the city like BU, but small steps can always be made. Look at how Harvard does things. As a disclaimer, I’m actually very happy with my decision to transfer but that is 100% due to the students here and zero to the housing system and policies. Step up BU, I know you can do it.

    • J on 09.20.2011 at 12:52 am

      Exactly

  • Abbie on 09.16.2011 at 1:20 pm

    This is stupid. All the cops, Rick Barlow the author, all the deans, parents and ra’s all used to do a lot of underage drinking in college, that’s what college is for. Let people pass out on a friends couch or puke on themselves, that’s how you learn instead of being told.

  • Madison on 09.16.2011 at 1:42 pm

    Although I am in complete agreement that many college students need to change their drinking habits, I think that increasing police forces and threatening students with law is not necessarily the correct method of going about this. I think that increased security can certainly be a part of it, but that there are more important steps which must be taken as well.

    (First of all, I do believe that the wine/beer drinking age should be lowered to 18, and the spirits drinking age should remain at 21, but for the sake of this argument we’re going to work within Mass law because that is what BU has to work within.)

    One thing which BU consistently fails to do is provide information about drinking. They most often go with the abstinence method (“…if you have sex, you will get chlamydia, and die.”). College students aren’t going to not drink; it’s not a part of the culture – but that can be okay. BU needs to accept that it is possible to drink responsibly – like giving facts on how long it takes for you to feel the effects of alcohol, and how that should affect your drinking. Try suggesting that students – and new drinkers specifically – try to keep themselves to wine or beer until they really know how much they can drink. There needs to be an educational reform on BU’s part which gives actual facts.

    For instance, there was a big set-up outside the mail room of Towers last semester which I thought was exceptionally ill thought-out and misrepresentative. It was a flowchart of good reasons versus bad reasons to drink. Some included “It’s been a long week, we should have a bit of fun” or “I’ve had a really bad day, I need to forget about it”. The problem was, each reason on the flowchart ended with “This is a bad reason to drink”, and listing various horrible consequences for drinking. There was no scale for students to actually put their thoughts against – therefore, incoming freshman or younger drinkers may not know that yes, you can responsibly drink and have a fun time for Reason 1, but you should never decide to drink because of Reason 2. Misinformation like this is what deprives students of making responsible choices – because the information the university is giving them isn’t true. It is widely known that having a few drinks with friends will not hospitalize you or get you arrested (in most circumstance). The university supporting the idea that drinking always leads to these hazardous endings makes the students disregard altogether what they have to say about underage drinking.

    I understand that BU is trying to stay in tune with Mass policy on alcohol, but at some point they will have to accept that yes, they should discourage irresponsible drinking, but in order to do that, they should teach how to drink responsibly. This should not be seen as encouragement for underage drinking, but rather as a preventative measure for over-drinking, and can be applicable to both underage and overage participants. BU teaches the merits of safe sex; they need to start teaching the merits of responsible drinking.

  • Sam on 09.16.2011 at 2:38 pm

    This type of aggressive policing only increases the distrust gap between students and police. I would love to say that seeing police patrolling Allston makes me feel safer, but instead it makes me worried about getting a fraudulent ticket because offices are being encouraged to be heavy handed with students. It seems like a better approach would be to cooperate with students, not use scare tactics that foster us versus them mentality among students and cops.

    Regardless, I don’t expect BU to actually follow through on their promise to “crack down”. They said this exact same thing in previous years, and Allston was still a circus on the weekends.

  • Shauna on 09.16.2011 at 2:46 pm

    The most ridiculous thing about this is the fact that the statistics are misleading. They’re not incorrect, but they don’t represent the inconsistent enforcement by BUPD and the (mostly Warren Towers) security guards. What would interest me the most is to see the percentage of these hospital transports who are females, for example. I’d also be curious to know how the security guards can pick one person out of a large group and send only that person to the hospital. Also, the consequences of getting caught drinking differ from those listed in the student handbook. I personally appealed a fine I got freshman year for drinking because it was inconsistent with the handbook, and I was turned down. Also, facts were exaggerated and completely made up in my case, and nothing was done to correct it when I pointed it out. If BU is really taking this issue seriously, they need to take a look at their policies and their implications, not just students’ behavior.

  • Michael on 09.16.2011 at 3:29 pm

    Not much of a crackdown. I could easily spot 100 underage drinkers walking down Brighton Avenue any weekend night.

    Most are just somewhat loud and obnoxious, but a handful are out of control – yelling, fighting, and/or puking on our sidewalks. I would love to see these kids ticketed/arrested. It won’t stop most from drinking, but at least they will stop disturbing the rest of us in public.

    If BU really cares about alcohol abuse, they have to promote the damaging effects of binge drinking, the social costs, et cetera. It is a social issue.

    Hopefully, people will just learn quicker that getting wasted is just a waste of time.

  • nrc on 09.16.2011 at 3:30 pm

    You have no idea the amount of people I have heard today in the GSU reading/talking about, and mainly…MAKING FUN of this article. As if anything will stop students from drinking, regardless of age. This isn’t a good resource for city of Boston cops either-there are neighborhoods that have real problems like robberies and violence.

  • David McBride on 09.16.2011 at 5:39 pm

    To share the reality of this problem, when looking at the blood alcohol content of recent transports to the hospital of BU students, the average is in the high 200s (0.2’s % by volume) with some as high as the 300s. At 0.20-0.29 one can expect stupor and significant loss of the ability to understand, at 0.30-0.39 one encounters severe CNS depression, unconciousness and potentially death. Despite our educational messages that accompany these enforcement tactics, students are not looking out for themselves and for thier fellow students. I don’t believe that students are going to choose to be abstinent (though over 30% of BU first year students report not drinking at all). Students must begin to recognize the seriousness of this problem, the biggest public health problem on every college campus around the country. Administrators can only try our best to reduce the likelihood of harm. I challenge BU students to come up with solutions that prevent those 250 plus students transported each year (the tip of an iceberg) from being placed in jeopardy of significant harm. I practice in college health because I care about the safety of the student population. I hope that some students will be spurred to work with the “administration” in developing solutions to this issue.

    • Anthony Priestas on 09.27.2011 at 5:34 pm

      Another reality of this problem is that it is impossible to “prevent [students]…from being placed in jeopardy of significant harm” whether we are talking about drinking, smoking, unprotected sex, riding bicycles down Comm Ave or any other activity human beings are likely to engage in. There is a reason why this is such a problem on college campuses, as you noted. Namely, that the law intended to protect students (and others) by lowering the drinking age has massively backfired.

      Only a society of paternalistic nannies would define an adult as 18 then contradict this when it comes to drinking alcohol. Lowering the drinking age has squeezed out the 18-20 year old group first from the bars, and soon they’ll be squeezed out of cigar and hookah bars in a few years as well (from the city refusing to renew their licenses as part of an extension of the indoor clean air act). These actions create incentives for students to drink “underground” where there are scarce social pressures to be well-behaved.

      From a pragmatic point of view, this should be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal one. There will always be some number of students (in fact, all people) that will go overboard; the goal is to try to lessen that number and severity, and I think the best way to achieve this is by simply treating them like the adults that they are (lest we concede their right to vote, own a firearm, serve in the military, judge their peers in court, and sign contracts until the age of 21!) and let them take responsibility for their actions.

      • Alumni on 09.29.2011 at 10:36 am

        Yes.

  • sexyman on 09.16.2011 at 8:01 pm

    am i the only one who sees the parallel between the alcohol policies and the policies of Gadafi, Hussein, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. This is Christian fascism at its extreme. Thank you so much Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann. Perhaps christian and puritanical America should follow European examples and we would have less deaths do to underage drinking.

    • lol on 09.19.2011 at 12:12 am

      Seriously? This isn’t satire?

      Your parallels are ridiculous. Your interpretation of this situation is ridiculous. You are ridiculous.

  • Mark on 09.17.2011 at 2:31 am

    I am the parent of a BU student. I certainly don’t know how to effectively deal with student alcohol abuse, especially by people who are not the legal drinking age – and even if this tragic result – http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2011/09/09/acadia-student-dies-after-binge-drinking/ – is relatively rare, I think that the underlying issue is very real and needs to be addressed.
    And for what it is worth, my personal experience (as a former police auxiliary member) showed me that sometimes a tough night in lock-up for public intoxication (no criminal charges or anything – you get out when you sober up) can really open a kid’s eyes.

  • safemom on 09.23.2011 at 8:04 am

    Are we sending our children to college to get an education for a future job or to learn how to drink! Parents need to make it clear to their kids that they are not paying for college (or will not continue to do so)if they can go on an illegal (yes the majority of these kids are doing this are illegally..hello the..drinking age is 21)partying fest. Kids need to learn that hard earned money whether it’s a parent paying or a student loan taken out is the reason why they get this privilege of college. Too many spoiled kids allowed to pick where they want to go to college and then they dissapoint and disrespect their families and themselves by getting involved in excessive partying. I just hope and pray they have the sense to do everything in moderation, but not hopeful in the instant gratification world we live in (that includes parents too). I am all for extra police, kids getting hauled out for drinking, kids sitting in jail cells to sober up and real life hitting them smack in the face for a reality check! It might wake mommy and daddy up, too!

    • Sensabilityplease? on 09.25.2011 at 8:44 pm

      please see my comment!

  • Sensabilityplease? on 09.25.2011 at 8:43 pm

    This is total and utter BS. Yes, excessive and underage drinking should be reduced. But I am a grad student (long over 21) who received a $200 fine and summons to court for “drinking in public view” – two feet in front of a house. I was talking quietly to a friend about 1950s film when the Boston Police pulled up in a black truck and handed out citations. I explained that I didn’t know what I had done was illegal, and asked for a warning as I had only had 1/2 a beer and was over 21. They were argumentative and pejorative and told me I was lucky I wasn’t in jail.

    My first concern here is obvious: I can’t afford a $200 fine, and will have to take time away from my studies to make the money to pay it.

    My second concern is much more important: The Boston police are handing out citations and fines to people who are drinking responsibly. In doing so, they are not serving the purpose of the BU Grant, are wasting police resources that are largely needed, and are encouraging the common view amongst college students that the police are unfair and unethical. The university is also making a huge mistake – their campaign is warranted, but allow the police to execute it in an unethical and nonsensical way reduces the campaign’s legitimacy and alienates those students who are responsible.

  • Donna S on 09.26.2011 at 11:10 pm

    There are so many different views when it comes to underage drinking. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. All I can say is, if this crackdown makes just one person think twice about taking a drink, then it’s worth it. In regards to one of the previous posts, you are lucky you only got a fine. You are alive aren’t you ?
    I have spent the last 27yrs putting my life back together because of a underage drunk driver. I was 18 yrs old and never got to have the college experience that so many people enjoy. And I am not done yet. Do I have the friendships I had in school ? NO. Everything changes in a heartbeat and things will never be the same. So anyone out there thinking yeah that won’t happen to me and you have your friends and/or significant other, well that all changes too. So like I said, if it makes just one person make a different choice, then I say keep it up. I know there will be a lot of people who won’t like reading what I have to say, but spend a day in my shoes and watch life pass you by. And while you’re at it, how many of your friends have been injured or otherwise because of drinking? Is it really worth it ? And Please, Please watch out for each other. Enough said.

    • Anon on 09.27.2011 at 2:44 pm

      Sorry about that but what does drinking and driving have to do with this? Most BU students don’t have cars.

  • Donna s. on 09.27.2011 at 5:53 pm

    In regards to Anon’s response, I knew that may be brought up. The guy driving the car was underage. This bringing up my next point. What happens when a student goes to a party off campus and decides to jump in a car with someone they don’t know driving ? If That person is trashed, all bets are off.
    Regardless of whether or not someone is driving or not, the damage can be unbelievable. When your head has been smashed in and there are a few ribs replacing your lower jaw, etc. everything changes. Your friends rally around you until the broken bones heal and then they are gone. Really, I mean it. Everyone is talking about the present and not the future. Has anyone considered the possibility of not being able to finish your education or not being able to work ? Has anyone thought about that phone call that their parents may get at 2:00 in the morning ? By reading what I have read so far, I guess not. That’s the sad part. Like I said in my previous post, watch out for each other.
    And for the record, I didn’t drink then and I don’t drink now . Later.

    • Anon on 09.27.2011 at 10:21 pm

      I didn’t mean to come off as crass. One of my childhood friends was killed by a drunk driver when we were in high school. The other driver (who also died in the collision) was an adult of legal drinking age. Tragedy can strike without warning and to no fault of the victims. But when I see BU “cracking down” on parties, I don’t see how that will do anything but move underage drinking further from campus. In that context, you might even argue that it would be safer for students to drink in the dorms, since they would be far less likely to borrow a friend’s car or risk traveling a certain distance while intoxicated.

      • Donna s. on 09.28.2011 at 11:39 am

        I didn’t take it that way. All I am trying to say is underage drinking can really mess things up for a person. Things can get out of control so fast. This is the first time I am speaking out about this (27yrs later) and it’s harder than I thought it would be. There is so much I want to say but I won’t because it’s not about me. It’s about hoping that maybe just one person will make a different choice. If by chance someone reads these past few posts and says geez maybe it’s not such a good idea after all then I know my speaking up may have made a difference.
        I wish there was more I could do.
        I

  • Alumni on 09.29.2011 at 10:34 am

    Students drink alcohol. Anyone who thinks they don’t is simply lying to themselves. Instead of ‘cracking down’ on underage drinking, we should be trying to educate our kids on the importance of safe drinking habits. The reason we have such problems with binge drinking in America is because we consider it such a crime, when in reality, it has been a social aspect of life for thousands of years.

  • Hammered.org on 10.13.2011 at 10:02 am

    If students decide not to drink, they should still have fun. For fun stuff to do in Boston without drinking, check out http://www.hammered.org.

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