Parents Can Set The Tone
Set Expectations — Think through your expectations about your teen’s behavior in college, and communicate those expectations clearly. Leave no doubt about any consequences you will impose if your rules are broken. Try to avoid posing restrictions like putting off paying their tuition. They are asking for help, and removing access to education isn’t going to provide the help they need. Be sure your expectations are reasonable, well thought-out, and convey trust and support.
Discuss some of the common myths about college drinking and drug use—Make sure your teen knows that most college students do not abuse alcohol and that there are plenty of other ways to get involved on campus without using alcohol and other drugs.
— While some parents think they are protecting teens by allowing drinking at home or offering to host parties where alcohol is served, they are not. Not only is that parent condoning illegal behavior and sending mixed messages to teens, but in several states the legal consequences are serious. Adults who provide alcohol to minors may be subject to criminal liability, such as fines and/or imprisonment, or civil liability, such as when private parties seek monetary damages for injuries resulting from underage drinking.
Eight Points for Parents
Speaking with Students about Alcohol — Adapted from http:// www.collegeparents.org
Most parents have heard tragic stories about the outcome of excessive drinking on college campuses. Parents are frightened by these stories and have every right to be.
As a resource, advisor and advocate for the more than 35 million households with parents of current and future college students throughout the United States, College Parents of America shares this concern. They advise parents to talk with their sons or daughters about the potential impact of high-risk drinking on their lives and the lives of their peers.
In cooperation with William DeJong, Director of the Higher Education Center, and Linda Devine, Assistant Dean of Student Life at the University of Oregon, College Parents of America has developed the following eight talking points to assist parents in talking with their students about alcohol.
Set clear and realistic expectations regarding academic performance. Studies conducted nationally have demonstrated that partying may contribute as much to students’ decline in grades as the difficulty of their academic work. If students know their parents expect sound academic work, they are likely to be more devoted to their studies and have less time to get into trouble with alcohol.
Stress to students that alcohol is toxic and excessive consumption can be fatal. This is not a scare tactic. The fact is students die every year from alcohol poisoning. Discourage dangerous drinking through participation in drinking games, social organizations, or other means. Parents should ask their students to also have the courage to intervene when they see someone putting their life at risk through participation in dangerous drinking.
Tell students to intervene when classmates are in trouble with alcohol. Nothing is more tragic than an unconscious student being left to die while others either fail to recognize that the student is in jeopardy or fail to call for help due to fear of getting the student in trouble.
Tell students to stand up for their right to a safe academic environment. Students who do not drink can be affected by the behavior of those who do, ranging from interrupted study time to assault or unwanted sexual advances. Students can confront these problems directly by discussing them with offenders. If that fails, they should notify the Residence Hall Director or other residence hall staff.
Know the alcohol scene on campus and talk to students about it. Students grossly exaggerate the use of alcohol and other drugs by their peers. A recent survey found that University of Oregon students believed 96 percent of their peers drink alcohol at least once a week, when the actual rate was 52 percent. Students are highly influenced by peers and tend to drink up to what they perceive to be the norm. Confronting misperceptions about alcohol use is vital.
Avoid tales of drinking exploits from your own college years. Entertaining students with stories of drinking back in “the good old days” normalizes what, even then, was abnormal behavior. It also appears to give parental approval to dangerous alcohol consumption.
Encourage your student to volunteer in community work. In addition to structuring free time, volunteerism provides students with opportunities to develop job-related skills and to gain valuable experience. Volunteer work on campus helps students further connect with their school, increasing the likelihood of staying in college.
Make it clear—underage alcohol consumption and alcohol-impaired driving are against
the law. Parents should make it clear that they do not condone breaking the law. Parents should clearly express disapproval of underage drinking and dangerous alcohol consumption. Parents should strive to be positive role models.
A Snapshot Of High-Risk College Drinking Consequences
Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.
Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
Drunk Driving: 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove under the influence of alcohol last year.
Unsafe Sex: 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex, and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex.
Assault: More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
Alcohol Policy at CMU
For more information, click on the Community Living tab, then Policies at campus life
The Office of Residence Life’s website outlines CMU’s policy regarding alcohol use. Stipulations are specifically outlined under Residence Hall Violations and Consequences. All students will be responsible for reading and understanding this document.
Students who violate the State of Michigan laws and/or the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Disciplinary Procedures and/or the listed residence hall policies regarding alcohol will face the following sanctions:
First Offense: $200 fine
Second Offense: $300 fine. Disciplinary probation until graduation.
Third Offense: Possible suspension from Central Michigan University or $300 fine. Assessment may be required.
An amendment to federal law H.R.6 allows universities to notify parents when violations occur, and CMU does notify parents when students under the age of 21 are found in violation.
Alcohol Education and Prevention
The Office of Residence Life believes in being proactive and partnering with you to help your student be successful. To assist with this, we have purchased an online assessment tool for our students to use.
E-chug is an online assessment tool designed to provide students with feedback about their personal consumption of alcohol and associated risk factors. It only takes 10-15 minutes and will provide students with information such as their caloric intake, amount of income spent on alcohol, tolerance level and more. Have your student take it at: www.reslife.cmich.edu/echug.shtml
We encourage your students take the assessment more than once to see how their thoughts, attitudes and alcohol consumption have changed.
Synthetic Drugs: Bath Salts, K2/Spice
The Office of Residence Life is committed to providing a safe, successful and enjoyable living and learning environment for your sons and daughters. You can be intstrumental in this process by considering the following.
Parents are often aware of the safety issues associated with alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs. However, parents and students may be unfamiliar or unaware of the potential dangers related to synthetic substances. Bath Salts and K2/Spice are synthetic substances making national headlines, particularly in college settings. These substances are very dangerous. They are not safe despite marketing efforts suggesting otherwise. These substances are available online, in convenience stores, and in "head" shops. The Drug Enforcement Administration has taken emergency action to make Bath Salts and K2/Spice illegal. The challenge for regulators is in staying ahead of the new formulas and versions of these substances that may not be covered by current law. Congress is working to act on this issue as well.
Parents are urged to speak with their students about synthetic substances!
College Drinking: Changing the Culture
College Parents of America
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) http:// www.niaaa.nih.gov
Phoenix House Prevention Initiatives for High School & College Students http:// www.factsontap.org
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) http:// www.nida.nih.gov