UM to notify parents of repeated drug, alcohol use
Ann Arbor — University of Michigan students may have thought they were past the point of worrying about someone tattling to their parents.
They are not.
The school announced Tuesday it will notify parents of first-year students who repeatedly violate UM policies on alcohol and drugs.
UM will contact parents if the students violate the policy a second time, or if the violation involves property damage, driving under the influence or an injury that requires medical attention.
“At UM, we strive to create a caring community,” read an email to students Tuesday. “The safety of our students is our No. 1 priority.”
The email was sent by E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, and Eddie Washington, executive director of the division of public safety and security.
The administrators said the school also will work more with Ann Arbor police in officers’ dealings with students in off-campus neighborhoods.
The police will engage and provide feedback to students before their drinking gets out of hand, said the administrators.
The university is focusing the new program on first-year students because studies have shown they’re especially vulnerable to problems with alcohol or drugs.
UM grad Zach Yancer said a better course of action might be lowering the legal drinking age.
“People drink,” he said. “Some people can’t handle it. Most can.”
Yancer also wondered about the legality of alerting parents to their children’s foibles.
But the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act allows the school to contact parents about such violations if their children are under 21.
The new program is the latest step by UM to confront students over drinking and using drugs.
Last year, the school shortened the move-in schedule by one day. The school had found that the period between students moving in and the start of classes involved problems with alcohol and drugs.
The one-day curtailment had a positive impact as alcohol and drug violations dropped at the school, said the university.
Students will be moving in next week.
University President Mark Schlissel has said several times that alcohol abuse is one of the biggest challenges facing the school.
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