Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pennsylvania Moves to Tighten College Drinking Policies

State bill would require college drinking policy
By Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG -- The House Liquor Control Committee today approved a measure aimed to reducing the amount of drinking of alcoholic beverages on college campuses in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 725 amends the state liquor code to require all colleges, universities and community colleges in the state to implement a written alcohol policy regarding students and make sure all students have a copy.

Any college that fails to do so would be ineligible for grants funded by the state Liquor Control Board's alcohol education fund.

These written policies, to be distributed to all students, must include the following:

• a summary of the state's liquor laws and the penalties for underage drinking, including information about illegal purchases made for minors, the danger of driving under the influence and a prohibition on lying about one's age in order to buy alcohol.

• notice that violating state law on underage drinking will result in counseling on the first offense, alcohol education and probation for the second offense and a one-semester suspension (as well as a one-semester prohibition on seeking state financial grants) on the third offense.

Colleges must give a copy of its policy to students upon enrollment and then each semester thereafter.

Proponents said that when college students drink too much alcohol, it can lead to auto accidents with injuries or death and sexual attacks on other students.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Raymond, R-Delaware, could come up for a vote in the full House in March.