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Alcohol Enforcement to Start This Weekend

BUPD schedules additional patrols after 11 students hospitalized


The BU student celebrated his 21st birthday, the legal drinking age in Massachusetts, last Saturday. By early Sunday morning, he was on his way to the hospital for acute intoxication, one of 11 University students comprising a puzzling spike in alcohol-fueled hospital runs in the last week.

The problem has the BU Police Department beefing up alcohol-control efforts, starting this weekend “and continuing until further notice,” says BUPD Captain Robert Molloy.

“We are going to begin plainclothes enforcement,” stationing officers around and near campus, Molloy says. Normally, a bolstered police presence, a mainstay of fall semester, resumes after spring break. But last weekend’s numbers are troubling enough (alcohol transports are up 7 percent over the fall semester, Molloy reports) that the BUPD decided to begin patrols now.

Of the 11 transports, 9 were in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday, according to Molloy, who says police aren’t entirely sure why so many were so acutely drunk. “One of the students indicated they attended a frat party in Allston,” he notes, but that student didn’t identify the fraternity.

There were 3 freshmen among the 11, and 6 of the 11 were 21 or older, says Al Brust, assistant director of Judicial Affairs, who hopes the unusual number of cases was “an anomaly.”

BU leaders credit the University’s alcohol enforcement protocol—launched three years ago and modeled on a successful plan at the University of California—with decreasing the number of alcohol-related incidents and hospital visits. It relies on extra police patrols in party neighborhoods, breaking up raucous parties, arresting or citing offenders, and publication of enforcement stats on BU Today during the fall semester.

Last year, BU also began mandatory alcohol education for first-year students.

BU’s alcohol enforcement typically involves collaboration among the BU, Boston, and Brookline police, and Molloy says the University will notify the other police forces of the current situation. Boston Police meanwhile have adopted a policy of arrest as the preferred response for alcohol violations near campus.

Rich Barlow

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

15 Comments on Alcohol Enforcement to Start This Weekend

  • Nawal Ahmed on 02.14.2014 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for the article. You should also investigate and find out who us responsible for selling advertising space to alcohol companies at BU. I am shocked to see that right in front of GSU there is a huge sign advertising some brand of alcohol. Such ads should not be allowed anywhere on campus let alone in front of GSU.
    Nawal Ahmed
    Alumni and part time faculty

  • Joe on 02.14.2014 at 10:21 am

    Halt! You are in violation of the Volstead Act!

    Seriously, though, BU Today should run a piece educating people on their rights. Too often I see people intimidated into self incrimination by BUPD and BPD around Allston, all because they don’t know their rights.


  • cg on 02.14.2014 at 10:26 am

    Apparently this past weekend there was a program sponsored by some individuals about the most drunken colleges. They travel across the US filming and posting the videos online. Last week was BU’s turn. You would wonder how come if most of the students know ahead of time why no one will take steps to alert the community. Also, the people involved with supporting events like that fostering illegal underage drinking in college campuses should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  • Nicholas Gross on 02.14.2014 at 10:36 am

    Hi Nawal,
    I certainly agree that it would be much better if we did not have such ads on campus; however, I think the space you are talking about is actually not governed by BU. It is on public property, a bus stop shelter that is operated by the MBTA. BU would have little say or leverage to change the advertising there.

    I really appreciate that BU is taking responsibility for enforcing the alcohol policies, different from some of the other institutions in the Boston area.

    • Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force on 02.14.2014 at 3:07 pm

      Bus shelters (like the one outside the GSU) are owned by the City of Boston. The MBTA banned alcohol advertising on MBTA property in July 2012 due in large part to the advocacy of the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Youth Coalition, the SAFE-MA collaborative and with support from the research led by SPH BU professor Mike Siegel. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19890170

      The Allston-Brighton Youth Coalition is currently working to educate city officials about the effects of alcohol ads on underage youth in the hope to ban alcohol advertising on city property. Comm Ave is a thoroughfare for underage youth traveling to and from school every day, not just for college students. And, the more alcohol ads a young person sees, the more likely they are to drink and to binge drink. http://www.camy.org/factsheets/sheets/Alcohol_Advertising_and_Youth.html

  • Not exactly a mystery on 02.14.2014 at 10:58 am

    Shmacked was in town for the Beanpot.

    • Student on 02.14.2014 at 4:36 pm

      Yup. I thought everyone knew that.

  • G on 02.14.2014 at 11:27 am

    Honestly, such harsh enforcement is not going to stop underage students from drinking. What is going to happen, however, is that they’re still going to do it, most likely to an extreme extent, get sick, and not want to call the ambulance or BUPD because they are afraid of getting arrested. I don’t understand this whole policy that intimidates students to call for help if they need it… Sometimes I wish BU was more sensible and took a more light course of action towards drinking other than scaring and intimidating, but that’s just my logic.

  • PK on 02.14.2014 at 12:14 pm

    You also might want to look into Neknominate. It’s a viral facebook phenomenon going around and most of the time involves large amounts of alcohol being consumed

  • G2 on 02.14.2014 at 1:23 pm

    I completely agree with G. Even if the numbers may say that there is a reduction in the amount of students sent to the hospital due to police “beefing up” alcohol control, the reality is that students sacrifice going to the hospital when needed in order to avoid the authorities. The parties and drinking won’t stop. As an academic institution, BU should instead teach their students how to be more responsible when drinking, rather than trying to intimidate them.

    • Joe on 02.14.2014 at 2:23 pm

      BU doesn’t care if people drink… It cares about bad press and liability, which is what these policies aim to limit.

  • Dylan on 02.14.2014 at 2:38 pm

    Zero-tolerance alcohol policies are useless for the same reason that zero-tolerance drug policies and abstinence-only sex education classes are useless. People are going to do these things whether we say they can or not because they have the right to. Allowing responsible drinking is and always will be the better option than uselessly trying to stop it all together.

  • Student on 02.14.2014 at 4:40 pm

    Massachusetts should adopt a policy like New York’s Good Samaritan Law. It just makes sense.

    We should be supporting people who feel the need to get help for friends instead of scaring students away by threatening arrest.

  • Richard on 02.15.2014 at 9:41 am

    Throughout history, there have been people banning substances for other people. There were even 2 constitutional amendments in this countries past dealing with alcohol. Quite honestly, in this age group ( late teens, early adults) you are only adding to the mystique by banning and enforcing something. Forget education, remember this is the DARE generation and they have been educated beyond belief. I can only speak as someone who is old enough to have had the pre-Reagan drinking age of 18. I remember only one case of binge drinking in my college. perhaps this was because alcohol was not illicit and we learned our lessons whilst still under our parents roofs. I strongly believe that it is the fatal combination of FREEDOM and alcohol which account for the large amount of alcohol problems on todays campuses. It may be counterintuitive but reinstating the drinking age to 18 or even lowering it to 16 may help this problem greatly. Before anyone talks about automobiles ( the original problem for which the 21 year old age was instituted) I believe that the age of driving should be raised to 18 or 19. Toss that around in your head for a minute

  • A European comment on 02.16.2014 at 7:31 am

    When I came to Boston as an exchange student last year I was shocked to see how students are behaving like European teens at high school. By trying to overprotect the youth (from alcohol, from sex, from responsiblity) parents, schools and the government created American undergrad’s who just don’t know their limit. As Richard already mentioned, I and almost all German students got to know our limits while we were still living at home with our parents. At school I always needed to somehow get home and face my parents the next morning for breakfast. That definately is an incentive not to do the same mistake (too much drinking) over and over again. Now, at university, alcohol is not a big thing, neither to talk about nor to judge someone’s fun factor on. Also, since I was allowed to drink beer and wine when I turned 16, I didn’t start with hard alcohol…

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