Letter to the Editor: Reducing drinking as a community

Nov. 18, 2011, 12:25 a.m.

Dear students,

On Nov. 10, The Daily featured a front page article describing Cardinal Nights, an initiative focused on bringing new social programming to campus (“OAPE offers alternative social scene,” Nov. 10). Sponsored by the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE), Cardinal Nights gives students attractive alternatives to events focused on alcohol which is something students say has been missing from the social scene on campus.  As a result, we are expanding this programming and, consequently, we are actively looking to partner with students who have ideas and need support.

Amid growing concerns that students are engaging more often in unsafe drinking (drinking to blackout, vomiting, doing things you later regret), we reviewed our alcohol policy and found that it was not serving students or the campus community well. After reframing the policy, we now have a restated Student Alcohol Policy that outlines expectations around alcohol for students. Central to the policy is the University’s concern about high-risk and reckless drinking practices, especially those that involve hard liquor. We know that hard liquor accounts for nearly 100 percent of all emergency room transports for alcohol poisoning, making it the biggest risk factor in student alcohol-related problems at Stanford.

To combat this problem we are increasing our educational and outreach efforts. We need students to question and challenge situations that lead to dangerous drinking. We know that Stanford is a caring place where students are part of a dynamic community and get help for those who need it. These shared values are the basis of the Cardinal Code, an aspirational mantra that encompasses the Fundamental Stanford and Honor Code.  It is a way of life at Stanford centered on our ‘civic’ responsibility to prevent dangerous behaviors and promote positive and healthy norms. We are a strong community that looks out for each other and the Cardinal Code gives this ethos an identity and name.

We are also pleased to have a new online resource that addresses alcohol at Stanford (http://alcohol.stanford.edu). This site contains the Student Alcohol Policy and identifies resources and education efforts related to alcohol and drugs. We hope that students will use the site as a reference tool. Also, we are launching a training called Say [email protected] to encourage and provide skills for students to intervene in potentially dangerous situations. A campus-wide Say [email protected] training will occur on Monday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. in the Tresidder Oak Room and all students are invited to participate.

I also invite all students to join our effort to reduce reckless drinking and to take an active role in enhancing the social scene on campus. To contribute to the dialogue on high-risk drinking, come to an ASSU-sponsored forum on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 9:30 p.m. at the D-school (Building 550).

I look forward to talking with you in person and working together.



Ralph J. Castro
Associate Dean of Student Affairs; Director, Office of Alcohol Policy and Education

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