Alcohol Information, Resources and Initiatives
We welcome your questions and comments. Please email the Alcohol Coordinating Committee at Alcohol@MiamiOH.edu.
Please note: Email messages may be made public.
Over the last several years Miami staff, faculty and students have rigorously re-examined the issue of high-risk alcohol consumption and have taken steps to address it. This effort included an external review of alcohol abuse in our community and the resulting creation of an Alcohol Coordinating Committee and its five work groups, which have university, Oxford and student members working on an ongoing basis to evaluate issues and recommend action.
We have educational efforts to teach our students about the risks related to alcohol and other drug consumption (e.g.; Alcohol.EDU, required for all incoming students since 2004; a community standards session at orientation; residence hall programming; peer education (HAWKS and BACCHUS) off-campus student education, and Welcome Week activity). Among communications to parents are sessions at orientation, tips in the parents newsletter on how to talk to your student about alcohol, and a card to them before their child’s 21st birthday warning of the practice of drinking “21 shots” on 21st birthdays.
We provide alternatives.
We recognize the majority of our students enter Miami as non-drinkers or light drinkers (abstainers, or no consumption over the prior two weeks) and offer extensive alcohol-free programming through the residence halls, our 600+ student organizations, and just in the last two years, an ongoing commitment to Late Night Miami programming every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Armstrong Student Center.
We work to improve culture.
We encourage all of our students to take care of each other, and to be safe and smart if they do choose to use alcohol. These messages are delivered through UNV 101 (offered to first-year students), through our StepUp! bystander training, through our adoption of a Good Samaritan policy, and through our I am Miami initiative, among other means.
We explicitly discourage the illegal and high-risk consumption of alcohol through, for example, our alcohol policies, which include no alcohol in first-year residence halls; the addition of birthdates (and now state of residence) on Miami ID cards; the creation of a substance-free living learning community; and Code of Conduct policies that result in mandatory suspension after 2 or 3 alcohol violations. In addition, we are working with students and the City of Oxford to reduce the prevalence of open, high-risk house parties where much dangerous drinking occurs.
Through our communication to parents, and through a series of forthcoming videos sponsored by the Parents Council, we are enlisting parents in our battle against high-risk consumption. If a student is found responsible for an alcohol violation and under the age of 21, the university notifies parents of that violation. University police and Oxford police work with community stakeholders to reduce alcohol and other drug abuse. Miami is also partnering with the City of Oxford to take on alcohol abuse in rental houses, and a team goes door to door each year to provide educational materials and other information.
Perhaps most significantly, we challenge our students both inside and outside of classroom with rigorous and meaningful academic and co-curricular activities that provide high levels of challenge, engagement, and reward.
A staff psychologist coordinates substance abuse services at Miami’s Student Counseling Service. For students found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct for alcohol use, sanction classes help students reflect on the role of alcohol in their lives and move them through the stages of change. In the fall of 2017 we will add recovery programs to support student sobriety.
Issues around alcohol abuse are faced by universities around the country, and Miami will continue to examine best practices at peer institutions to continually improve our efforts.