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College to Address Student Binge Drinking

KEENE, N.H. 8/28/08 - When 100 college presidents recently signed the Amethyst Initiative, which calls for lowering the legal drinking from 21 to 18, they opened a national discussion on the problem of student binge drinking.

Keene State College President Helen Giles-Gee did not sign the statement, but she has called for a campus-wide forum to discuss the issue.

“I chose not to sign the Amethyst pledge because it stated a position: ‘21 is not working,’” Giles-Gee said. “But I do agree with the principle of having an open forum where data can be provided and various points of view considered. I have charged Vice President for Student Affairs Andrew Robinson to provide leadership on this issue.”

Giles-Gee said the forum will give the campus community an overview of current alcohol education programs, and will also explore what more can be done to address binge drinking. She stressed that Keene State enforces current New Hampshire law. The College also endeavors to change negative alcohol-related behavior, especially binge drinking, which can occur regardless of age.

“The College believes in a philosophy of liberal education that develops character as well as learning, ” Giles-Gee said. “Students demonstrate character when they behave responsibly and make good judgments, and one of the tenets of character building is to provide students with enough information so that they can make good judgments. “

To fulfill the learning objective, Keene State currently requires all incoming students to complete an online alcohol education program, called Alcohol Wise. A coordinator of wellness and a counselor specializing in alcohol and other drug use offer programs throughout the year. For those students who initially make wrong choices, the College works directly with the Keene Police Department and/or the College’s judicial program. The College judicial process includes a Referred Learning Program and a fee. Repeat offenders face more severe consequences.

President Helen Giles-Gee has met annually with the Student Assembly to address issues of alcohol and substance abuse as well as the values of community service, and says the College stands ready to enhance its efforts.

For more information contact Dr. Andrew Robinson at 603-358-2107,

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435