Committee on Alcohol and Drug Policy report

Sept. 27, 2011

Dear members of the Brandeis Community,

Today, I am releasing a report from the ad hoc Committee on Alcohol and Drug Policy, which was formed last fall to review the university’s policies regarding student use of alcohol and drugs and to offer broad-based recommendations to enhance the health and safety of our community.

I applaud the committee for its diligence and its commitment to its charge. As the report notes, the review was framed in terms of Brandeis’s educational mission and core values.

The use and abuse of alcohol and drugs on college and university campuses locally and across the country has been well documented and is of great concern to all of us. As Committee Chairman Professor Leonard Saxe noted in the report, the goal here was not to determine if the alcohol and drug situation at Brandeis is better or worse than at other institutions, or even whether the situation on campus has improved or deteriorated. Instead, the purpose was to connect with all campus constituencies to consider ways to enhance current policy to protect each student and community member.

The committee did that in the brief time it had available. I now want to continue its fine work because there is value in a thoughtful extension of its efforts. To that end, I have asked Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel to examine the committee’s recommendations and to determine how best to integrate them into the life of the university. In the near future, he will assemble working groups to help him conduct that assessment.

Some of the recommendations in the report can be implemented in the short term. Many other suggestions will require further study to understand fully the resources they require in order to implement them effectively. We are fortunate at Brandeis to have on our faculty and staff a range of expertise on which we can draw as we engage in this process. Student voices, which were integral to the committee’s work, will be a vital component of this phase as well.

I am grateful to members of the committee for their important work on a subject I take very seriously. This report highlights many of the things Brandeis does well. It also describes some of the challenges we face and offers paths we may follow to make improvements. I encourage you to read it and consider its meaning for this community. I believe we can be most effective in dealing with this critical issue by working together as partners.

Best regards,