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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

May 29, 2001
Susan Beasy Latto, Director of Public Relations 218 726-8830
Greg Fox, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Operations 218 726-7102
Bruce Gildseth, Vice Chancellor for Academic Support & Student Life 218 726-8501

UMD Announces Strengthened Policies on Alcohol Use
Creation of UMD/Duluth Police Community Task Force

At a news conference held today, UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin announced actions taken to strengthen the school's policies and enforcement of alcohol violations by UMD students. Martin outlined procedures aimed at both on and off campus drinking, and asked for the support and cooperation of the entire community. She expressed profound sadness over the death of student Ken Christiansen on behalf of the UMD community, and said that the subject of alcohol use by students is one which the university takes very seriously.

"I plan to implement strong and severe sanctions for alcohol violations to the full extent permitted by law, " she said. "I want to emphasize that UMD is a school made up of fine young people. The difficulty we are dealing with is that of a larger youth culture in this country, which places a high value on drinking alcohol. UMD is committed to take whatever steps are possible to reduce or eliminate the incidents of underage and excessive drinking by students."

Martin outlined steps taken in three areas:

  1. Actions Regarding Rugby Team Club Sport
    • Men's and women's rugby suspended from all activities for Fall Semester 2001
    • All team members required to take an alcohol education class at a cost of $75 (paid for at their own expense)
    • Sport placed on two-year probation
    • Suspension to be reviewed mid-semester of Fall 2001
    • UMD policy that any individual charged in civil court will not face campus discipline until the civil court process is completed
  2. Strengthening of On Campus Alcohol Policies
    • Letter sent to parents of all incoming freshman regarding responsible alcohol behavior
    • Heightened emphasis on alcohol education for freshman
    • Increased emphasis on student/parent/UMD partnerships
    • Parental notification for serious alcohol violations by dependent, minor students and life threatening situations
    • Increased coordination with UMD Student Association to develop and implement alcohol policies
    • Vigilant enforcement of alcohol violations and stronger penalties
    • Increased training of staff and coaches who supervise and administer alcohol policies
  3. Expansion of Off Campus Involvement Regarding Alcohol Violations and Prevention
    • Creation and Implementation of a Community Task Force working with the Duluth Police Department and community experts
    • Brochure sent to all UMD students living off campus--urging responsible living in the community
    • "Registration & Responsibilities" document required annually for all student organizations and club sports. Officers are held responsible for activities held off campus.
    • Expansion of mandated alcohol education classes (at cost of $75 per person) for alcohol related violations
    • Request that UMD be notified by Duluth Police of off campus student alcohol citations
    • Request that Duluth Police place intoxicated students in the De Tox Center

Martin said that she and Duluth Police Chief Scott Lyons met recently and laid plans for the creation of the Community Task Force. The task force will be comprised of approximately 10 area persons with a variety of experience and expertise, charged with the responsibility of addressing the issues of underage and excessive drinking in the community, particularly as they relate to UMD students.

Chief Lyons said, "This task force is a great step forward. With UMD and the Duluth Police Department working closely together, we are in a much better position to exchange information and bring about some strong positive action. Underage drinking, binge drinking, excessive drinking are major problems--not just at UMD, but in our entire community."

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