President's Letter

President David Hodge sent the following letter to University students, faculty and staff on March 30, 2015, sharing the Alcohol Task Force Report and Recommendations, and announcing the Coordinating Committee:

High-risk alcohol behavior can be devastating for individuals and communities, overshadowing the majority of university community members who make responsible, low-risk choices around alcohol use. These high-risk behaviors are of great concern to universities nationally, and certainly to Miami locally.  In response to these serious issues, I appointed an Alcohol Task Force in September to examine and rethink Miami’s approach to addressing high-risk alcohol consumption based on an assessment of data, attitudes, and behaviors that have evolved since the 2006 Garland Report on alcohol use at Miami was issued.

The Task Force engaged in an extensive information gathering and assessment process throughout fall and winter terms. The process included an environmental scan by an external consultant, a review of national and Miami data, evaluations of current interventions, and focus groups with key stakeholders—students, staff, faculty, Oxford and Miami police, and local business owners—in the campus and Oxford communities.  

The Miami University Alcohol Task Force Report and Recommendations share the findings of the Task Force and outside consultant, examine the national and Miami context, and, most importantly, propose a strategic framework to allow for ongoing implementation, assessment, and sustainability of strategies, led by a permanent, broadly representative university-level Alcohol Coordinating Committee.  

The Coordinating Committee has been established and will be chaired by Rebecca Baudry Young. The Committee will begin its work immediately to create workgroups to address specific issues; collect, analyze, and respond to local data; communicate efforts to the Miami and Oxford communities; develop relationships with the Student Communication Relations Commission and the Coalition for a Healthy Community in Oxford; and serve as advisory to programming and policy related to high risk alcohol and other drug use. A strong foundation and infrastructure for implementation efforts will be created, including the development of a comprehensive assessment plan and website as a central hub for information:

As the report states, “When high academic standards are clearly defined and communicated to our students … we are accustomed to our students rising to meet the challenge.  We believe that with a sustained, intentional effort involving all members of our community, both on-campus and off, the same high standards for a responsible, respectful, ‘safe and smart’ campus culture can be achieved.

I agree. And now, with the opportunities created by the opening of the Armstrong Student Center and the launch of long term programs such as I am Miami, Step Up, and It’s on Us, this is the ideal time to act.  Our efforts must be thoughtful, decisive, and long-term.

I thank the Alcohol Task Force members for their time and thoroughness in preparing this report, and ask everyone in the Miami community to join with the Coordinating Committee and workgroups to address these critical issues.