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Campus Life

Alcohol Enforcement Patrols Resume This Weekend

BU and Boston Police step up efforts to reduce underage drinking

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Starting today, the Boston University Police Department, along with Boston Police, will begin their annual enhanced alcohol enforcement patrols to curb illegal drinking by students and reduce the number of students brought to a hospital for acute intoxication. The enhanced patrols will be in effect every weekend throughout the fall.

“It’s important for students, and especially new students, to know that it’s illegal to possess or consume alcohol when under 21, and illegal to provide alcohol to someone under 21,” says BUPD Captain Robert Molloy.

The enhanced patrols began in 2011. The program is based on a University of California effort that significantly reduced off-campus student drunkenness.

Line graph showing Student Alcohol Transports by Month at Boston University from 2013-2016

Data courtesy of the BUPD

During the 2015–16 school year, 155 intoxicated students were transported to a medical facility for acute intoxication, the majority of them freshmen. That figure represents a drop of nearly 9 percent from the year before, when 170 students required transport. Molloy attributes the reduction to a combination of increased enforcement and better education. Entering first-year students are required to take the online alcohol abuse prevention course AlcoholEdu for College, designed to dispel myths about campus drinking that might promote alcohol abuse. Also, President Robert A. Brown sends out an annual summer letter to parents of incoming students to warn of the dangers of alcohol overuse, and he reinforces the message in his speech at Matriculation.

“Such behavior has serious consequences for students,” Brown wrote in this year’s letter to parents, “and heavy episodic overuse of alcohol by college students can lead to poor academic performance, assaults, injuries, accidents, and much worse,” as well as being associated with sexual assault.

Beyond possible legal problems, the consequences of alcohol misuse can include mandated counseling, removal from BU housing, or suspension from the University.

The increased enforcement will begin each Thursday starting at 8 p.m. and run through Sunday night, with special Boston Police patrols in neighborhoods adjacent to campus. Plainclothes officers in unmarked cars will be looking for “party houses” and public and underage drinking, Molloy says. The intent is to reduce the impact on the neighborhoods around BU as well as underage drinking itself.

The BUPD will have plainclothes officers patrolling campus, checking IDs of students and others in possession of alcohol, and issuing citations to anyone who has violated alcohol laws. The department will also work with local police, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, and other officials to ensure that local package stores and bars are fulfilling their responsibilities in checking IDs, Molloy says.

 Bar chart showing Liquor Law Violations by Academic Year at Boston University

Data courtesy of the BUPD

BU Today will publish each weekend’s enforcement stats the following Thursday throughout the semester.

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Joel Brown, writer, BU Today at Boston University
Joel Brown

Joel Brown can be reached at jbnbpt@bu.edu.

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