UK To Ease Alcohol Restrictions, Expand Student Code Of Conduct

Apr 24, 2014

The University of Kentucky could see its first legal alcoholic beverage served on campus in 16 years this fall.

The relaxed policy is part of a number of recommendations UK president Eli Capilouto says will move forward this year. In an announcement Thursday, UK officials laid out the series of forthcoming changes endorsed by the Work Group on Student Health and Safety.

One recommendation extends the reach of the school's Student Code of Conduct, adding to the list of activities students can be held liable for off campus.

"What we're talking about doing going forward is a broader, more comprehensive approach, working very closely with the city and our partners elsewhere such that whether a code of conduct violation occurs on campus or off campus, we're going to enforce that," says UK spokesman Jay Blanton.

Balancing that expansion will be measures easing the use of alcohol on campus.

Workgroup data showed that students’ drinking habits had not changed since the campus went dry in 1997. The new rules - which have yet to be fleshed out - could allow for limited drinking on campus. UK Student Government President Roshan Palli says the move shows the university is getting realistic about the problem.

"Shoving alcohol away and not really talking about it, I don't think that's the right approach. I'm really proud that this university is taking the stance that we're going to talk about these issues [and] we're going to help our students work through them," he says.

Other recommendations in the plan include creating an enforcement task force to handle student conduct violations, instituting a medical amnesty policy for reporting instances of substance abuse, and launching a year-round community service program focusing on nearby neighborhoods.

Officials expect most of the recommendations to be instituted by the fall.

A summary of the recommendations is below:

·         Expanding the Code of Student Conduct beyond campus boundaries. Several other campuses, including The Ohio State University, have expanded their Code of Student Conduct as part of an effort to improve safety and community relations.

·         Revising the university's alcohol policy to allow consumption on campus under predetermined guidelines and conditions. Only people who are of legal age (students, employees and visitors) would be allowed to consume alcohol in prescribed places on campus.

·         Developing an active enforcement task force ― composed of Lexington and campus police, the UK Office of Student Conduct and Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Student Affairs ― to coordinate reporting and handling of violations of the student code of conduct if, and when, they occur.

·         Instituting a medical amnesty policy within the Code of Student Conduct for reporting instances of substance abuse or potentially dangerous situations.

·         Encouraging students who live off-campus to establish positive relations with neighbors and neighborhoods and providing more formal opportunities for town forums for both UK and the broader community to exchange ideas and discuss concerns.

·         Developing a more formalized, year-round community service program focused on near-campus neighborhoods.

·         Rehabilitating and leasing university-owned houses and apartments in adjacent neighborhoods to faculty and staff.

·         Improving and increasing student-focused prevention and education programs throughout campus and the surrounding community.