By Taylor Moak | @KyKernel
UK is one of several institutions nationwide that is revisiting its alcohol policy.
President Eli Capilouto has said that he is reviewing the status of the university as a “dry campus” and will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees this fall about the best course of action.
The University of Pennsylvania has created a commission to review the impact of alcohol on student safety, according to an article published in The Daily Pennsylvanian.
And seven of the eight Ivy League schools have implemented new alcohol-related policies since August, according to an article published in January in the Yale Daily News.
Montana State University is also among the list of schools taking another look at policies related to alcohol and substance abuse.
Matt Caires, dean of students at Montana State, said a presidential-level commission has been created to review the university’s policies on substance abuse prevention.
He said departmental and academic reviews occur every seven years, but students services sometimes does not go through the same scrutiny. The commission will allow those policies to be reviewed.
Montana State is the largest school in Montana, with about 15,000 students, Caires said. The university allows alcohol on campus and in certain residence halls.
He said the decision to create a commission was not in relation to anything that had happened, but that it was time the policies were reviewed.
The administration at Montana State knows that some of its students drink and abuse drugs, Caires said, and one question the commission will ask itself is: “What can we do to help shift that culture?”
Among the members of the commission is the Bozeman assistant city manager.
“We need to be good neighbors,” Caires said.
Community input is also a part of the discussion as UK is reviewing its alcohol policy, said Lisa Higgins-Hord, assistant vice president for community engagement.
She said the university’s alcohol policy and the effect it has on local neighborhoods comes up every year with community members.
Since many students live off campus, some local neighborhoods lack balance between students and other residents, Higgins-Hord said. New students in neighborhoods means there is a continual re-education process about what is and is not acceptable in the neighborhoods.
The discussion of UK’s alcohol policy in relation to surrounding communities has come up as the university is updating its master plan, Higgins-Hord said.
Local residents understand that this campus administration is not responsible for the decisions of previous administrations, she said, but community members hope that if UK makes changes to its existing policy or really looks at changing its policy, then their quality of life could change.
“No one wants to kick students out of their neighborhoods,” he said.