Schools Update Alcohol Policies to Curtail Binge Drinking

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. and RICHMOND, Va.—In an effort to curb binge drinking, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest University (WFU) and Richmond,  Va.‘s James Madison University (JMU) have updated campus alcohol policies.

WFU implemented the new policies after faculty, staff members, students and residents who live near the campus offered recommendations, according to The new rules are a result of a January off-campus party involving several hundred members of the school’s Greek system that led to six students being treated at a local hospital for alcohol poisoning.

To combat the problem, officials looked at changing when students are allowed to pledge a fraternity or sorority, initially stating that they should start the process at the beginning of their sophomore year instead of during their freshmen year. Instead, freshmen will still be allowed to pledge at the beginning of the spring semester; however, they will be required to have a grade point average of 2.5., compared to 2.25 in previous years.

Additionally, the school is seeking to bring more movie nights, dances and concerts to campus so students can socialize after hours instead of engaging in off-campus parties where heavy drinking is present. Parents will also be notified of all alcohol violations.

Meanwhile, authorities at JMU have also implemented new policies in an attempt to change the negative alcohol culture on campus, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The changes are a result of April’s Springfest off-campus party where 30 were arrested and 42 were injured.

New rules include increased enforcement of laws against underage drinking and public intoxication, parent notification after a student’s first alcohol offense and sending a postcard to parents before a student’s 21st birthday, which is meant to encourage parents to have a discussion with students about having a safe and healthy celebration.

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