Duke University Alumni Magazine

A Move Toward Moderation
Drinking at Duke
by Bridget Booher

Keg cutbacks: Common until the mid-Nineties, open distribution such as this is now prohibited

University administrators, faculty, police, and even students themselves are grappling with how to minimize the damaging side effects of the party-till-you drop mentality. At the same time, students are generally resistant to restrictive measures that echo the days of In Loco Parentis.

uring the day, a classmate of mine I'll call Steve always came across as polite and a bit shy, But after the first few beers, a different person took over. He became louder and increasingly aggressive, Laughter came more easily, his observations were more vocal, By the time the party was in full swing, Steve would be careening out of control, lunging at women and punching walls. Once, he fell off the second floor of Brown House but was lucky -- or drunk -- enough to suffer no ill effects. He picked him- self up, brushed the grass off his shirt, and headed back to the ever-present keg for more beer. He was pre-med, and we referred to his twin personas as "Dr. Jekyll" and "Mr. Hyde."

     A few years after his graduation in the early Eighties, Steve got into a fight at a bar, took a blow to the head, and died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

     From cabin parties to Homecoming celebrations to football tailgating, alcohol has long been part of the fabric of campus life, For most people,it serves as a pleasant social lubricant their is both enjoyable and controllable, For others like Steve, it can become a deadly addiction, What's particularly disturbing to those in the fields of health care and higher education is not that alcohol continues to be an enduring rite of passage for young adults. It's that even with the proliferation of university policies and regulations designed both to comply with national laws and to alleviate bacchanalian blowouts, students are still finding ways to do considerable harm to themselves and others.

     Nationwide, the tragic stories mount. Students whose blood alcohol levels are two and three times the legal limit fall to their deaths or are permanently maimed, Drunken revelers destroy or deface common property. Sexual couplings take place that lead to tremendous psychological and physical duress. People are found passed out in bushes or rushed to emergency rooms by friends. The incidence of binge drinking -- defined as the consumption of five or more drinks (four for women) in a row at least once during a two-week period -- is climbing precipitously among college students, It's enough of a national concern that the American Medical Association has launched a new office to address the problem of alcohol consumption among young people, (The AMA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -- the country's largest health-care philanthropic organization -- are spearheading an $8.6-million program to reduce high-risk drinking among college students.)

     At Duke and at other universities, adminis- trators, faculty, police, and even students themselves are grappling with how to minimize the damaging side effects of the party-till-you-drop mentality. At the same time, students are generally resistant to restrictive measures that echo the days of in loco parentis. After all, they've been told that college is a time to take risks, to test themselves, to learn how to set limits.

     During Duke's 1992-93 academic year, two pivotal events focused the spotlight on alcohol (over-) consumption. At Founders' Day, English professor Reynolds Price'55 delivered a blistering assessment of how far afield the university had wandered from its mission of providing intellectual rigor for -- and expecting it from -- its students. Instead of serious conversations and academic exploration, he noted, the prevailing topic of discussion among undergraduates seemed to be "how drunk I was last night," Several months later, Dean of the Chapel Will Willimon issued his now famous report, "We Work Hard, We Play Hard," which chronicled the wild and desperate atmosphere that had sprung up around the "keg scene," primarily at fraternities and primarily on West Campus. Commissioned by then-Duke President H. Keith H. Brodie, then-Provost Tom Langford B.D. '54, Ph.D. '58, and Vice President for Student Affairs Janet Dickerson, the document helped galvanize efforts to change the status quo. These included more restrictive alcohol policies, shifts in housing assignments, expanded educational outreach and substance-abuse prevention programs, and ongoing philosophical and practical discussions about what it means to be part of a community in which all respect and look out for one another.

ince Willimon's report, an entire undergraduate population has passed through Duke. If he were to embark on the same assignment today, would he find things significantly better? "Yes, and I'm a pessimist by nature," says Willimon. "There does seem to be a measurable, appreciable change, We have turned the corner from believing that drinking -- and heavy drinking in particular -- is normal adolescent behavior, to acknowledging that it is detrimental."

     There are encouraging signs to bolster his claim. In the 1994-95 academic year, fifty-two students were taken to the emergency room for alcohol overdose and detoxification treatment. In 1995-96, that number dropped to forty-one, and for the year that ended in May, the total number was twenty-seven. Because no alcohol is allowed in first-year student houses, residents know that even holding an unopened beer violates the alcohol policy and thus enforcement (especially on all-freshman East) has become easier. To comply with their national charters' concerns about liability issues, fraternities no longer supply keg after keg of free-flowing beer, In fact, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) voted two years ago to abolish kegs altogether, and now sponsors only BYOB parties.

     One of the most significant changes in re- cent years has been the way beer (and liquor) is dispensed. The current alcohol policy effectively eliminates distribution of alcohol except by university-approved bartenders. That means if a living group wants to have five kegs on a Friday night, it has to register the party and go through university catering to buy the kegs and hire bartenders to check IDs and serve beer, (Hard liquor and wine may be served only at events in licensed facilities providing a cash bar,) For BYOB parties, students of legal drinking age can bring enough alcohol "deemed reasonable for their personal consumption during a four-hour period of time," Drinking games like "quarters" and chugging contests are prohibited. When violations occur -- and are re- ported by resident advisers or campus police -- sanctions are automatic. These range from formal warnings and fines to probation and sus- pension, Offenses accumulate over the course of a student's undergraduate career. Even students who are most critical of the policy will grudgingly admit that it has cut down on the wretched excesses of the past.

till, no one claims that underage drinking has stopped -- or that alcohol is particularly hard to come by, While college used to be the place where young men and women tasted their first sip of spirits, experimentation now begins in high school or even earlier, It's not unusual for some members of the incoming freshman class to arrive on campus with fake IDs and a taste for Molson and margaritas. For those who come from more protective or restrictive households, the temptation to join the party can be seductive, (Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of alcohol violations take place among first-year students.)

     "I assumed that the social life would consist of more than just sitting at home on a Friday night reading Shakespeare, but beyond that I didn't have very many expectations," says rising sophomore Rachel Medlock, "Of course, I knew that there would be a good deal of drinking, American pop culture inundates you with the notion of college drinking," Still, she says she was not prepared for seeing her dorm mates come back drunk weekend after weekend. "I felt that maybe they were trying to fulfill some image of what they thought a 'col- lege kid' was supposed to be rather than who they really were. But then I was the one who came hack drunk a few weekends and I didn't feel that I was trying to be somebody else, only that, after a long week, a little partying didn't seem so bad. There's a lot of energy there, too: all the dancing and the masses of people and the music and the laughing. It makes your blood pump and reminds you that you're young and alive."

     Others found the weekend migration to the West Campus party scene alienating and disconcerting. Before coming to Duke, Vanessa Lynn Smith'97 expected to find a place "where people could be themselves or try to figure out just who that self was without fear of ridicule." Instead, her first impressions were marked by "total and complete disillusionment. Except for a small contingent who stayed in and read their Bibles, absolutely everyone in my freshman dorm went to keg parties and got drunk on weekends, It never felt to me like the camaraderie of classmates relaxing after a tough week, either. It always felt sort of sexually charged, the guys all trying to score with the prettiest girls possible and the girls teasing them." Despite the transition to a BYOB policy, fraternities are still considered by many to be Party Central. An alcohol survey distributed through the university's student health service found that drinking was seen by 99 percent of respondents as being important to fraternity social life. For incoming IFC president Tom Sowers '98, it's an unfair stereotype. "The majority of Duke students see us on Friday and Saturday nights when we are primarily social organizations, when we do have parties and bands. They don't see the other aspects of &atemity; life, like community service and other day-to-day activities. If you wanted to get an accu- rate impression of Duke students, you wouldn't go to Crazy Zack's at Myrtle Beach and say that's the way Duke students are all the time,"

     Sowers says fraternities are in a difficult position because they are bound by both university policy and the rules of the Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group (FIPG), the main ruling organization that governs most national fraternities. Making the transition from keg parties to BYOB events came about in part because of FIPG regulations, And there have, in fact, been positive consequences to the switch. Fraternities used to spend a sizable portion of their annual budgets -- sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars -- on booze. Now, that money has been freed up for other purposes and annual dues are down, "I don't think fraternities should be the sole providers of alcohol on campus," says Sowers. "I don't think that should be our responsibility." The downside to the IFC no-keg rule, says Sowers, is that it has hampered the environment for social fellowship among large numbers of students, "When I first came here, you could go to five different parties and see and interact with a lot of different folks. Now, people tend to stay in their own sections and you don't see as many people milling about." Winston "Tres" Black III '98 echoes Sowers' view. His fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, was caught with a keg last fall and slapped with a number of sanctions, including social suspension. He says the policy change has made people more cautious and surreptitious, If an underage student with a fake ID acquires beer at a fraternity party, for example, the living group can still be held liable for distribution, "People don't trust [strangers' in the section anymore. People tend to sit in their rooms and drink; there isn't as much socializing."

     Sowers is spearheading an effort to persuade FIPG to rethink its rules regarding distribution and allow Duke fraternities to have keg parties again. The existing IFC policy, he says, "looks great on paper, but it's not realistic. It's like the Sigma Nu and Phi Delta Theta fraternities announcing that all their chapters will be alcohol-free by 2000. I'll be very surprised if that actually happens. We're admitting that the policy we put into place two years ago has failed; fraternities are still getting into trouble for distribution violations, We want a policy that's in keeping with university policy and North Carolina law, where we can distribute alcohol to people who are of age in a controlled environment with university bartenders."

     Besides, fraternities aren't the only groups renowned for their revelry, Selective living groups such as Mirecourt and House CC don't have Greek affiliations, so they can have keg parties every weekend if they so choose. Money set aside for Quad Council activities and entertainment can be spent on beer, and there have been reports that some non-Greek parties are partially funded by Greek monies, In the continuing quest to find loopholes in the alcohol policy, some enterprising students have even formed social groups with the sole purpose of being able to buy kegs legally.

or those charged with overseeing the enforcement of the policy, the job has its challenges. Every housing group has a residential adviser (RA), usually upperclass or graduate students, whose duties include, among other things, reporting violations. RAs are in a delicate position; they are, in a sense, an older sibling who maintains order but who can be trusted with private concerns, James Pak '94, J,D, '97 has been an RA in a variety of settings, from first-year houses to indepen- dent sections to fraternities, He acknowledges that it is sometimes difficult to be both friend and authority figure.

     "We're supposed to both enforce the rules and befriend students. For some, that comes more naturally than others. Some RAs are strict disciplinarians and want to report every violation. On the other hand, that kind of approach might make students more secretive about drinking or hesitant to come to you with other problems." Pak says he chooses a middle path. If he sees someone he knows is underage flagrantly breaking the rules, he'll approach that person the next day and ask if there's something about the policy he or she doesn't understand. "These kids know what my role is. So I tell them that by blatantly disregarding the policy, they're being disrespectful of me," On other occasions, when a problem drinker is unreceptive, Pak has found it more useful to approach the person's friend and say, "There's a concern here, As a friend, you need to take action."

     Campus police are the other arm of the law. Like RAs, they are subject to criticism for either not doing enough to provide a secure envi- ronment or for being too rigorous in enforcing alcohol laws and policies. Different constituents -- faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, parents -- have different expectations of what role the police play, It can be frustrating, they say, to encounter an attitude that the rules of the real world don't apply to students, "There's a real ambivalence about law enforcement in general, especially on a college campus," says Lewis Wardell III '75, assistant director for operations for Duke's campus police. "It may be that it's an education model versus an enforcement model, that we would rather educate people about right and wrong than use enforcement, which is seen by some as a negative tool," That means that drunk and disorderly behavior that would result in an arrest on the streets of any city might instead be referred to the university's undergraduate judicial system.

     Having police enforce university policy is probably not appropriate anyway, says Wardell. "We generally feel that the RAs and residential and student-life staffs should be responsible for enforcement of the alcohol policy, because most of the violations are policy violations rather than law violations, It's not against the law to have a keg in your commons room; it's a policy violation, We're mindful that the more police control you have, the greater the chance for a real confrontation," says Wardell, citing a brawl this spring at the University of Colorado in Boulder, (Students angry at UC efforts to decrease alcohol-fueled parties turned on a group of police called in to stop a fight. In the two-night rioting that ensued, store windows and cars were vandalized, bricks and bottles were thrown, and police had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Twelve officers were injured and thirty-six people were arrested.)

     In terms of alcoholic exuberance, the two events that cause the most headaches for campus police -- NCAA championships notwithstanding -- are Homecoming and the last day of classes. Police chief Alana Ennis says that in the former instance, it's not always the students who are out of control. "We get a lot of alumni coming back who want to buy kegs for the fraternities or living groups they used to belong to. It's a real problem." It's not unusual either to have returning alumni overindulge and become raucous, she says. During the last day of classes, students start drinking in the afternoon and carry on into the night. The aftermath is broken bottles, garbage, and litter strewn about the quads, and toilets backed up with vomit and other party detritus.

     To a lesser degree, a similar form of de- bauchery takes place somewhere on campus nearly every weekend. Come Monday morning, though, a visitor would never know that it had transpired. East Campus facility manager James Bumphus says his staff is used to cleaning up the after-effects of alcohol overuse, "Even though East Campus is supposed to be dry, we find evidence of drinking -- beer bottles, liquor bottles. And we do see evidence in the bathrooms of people drinking too much, whether they drank here or went to the parties on West and came back here and got sick. I would say that somewhere on campus every Monday housekeeping is cleaning up vomit. But my employees have become accustomed to dealing with it, so unless it was a really outrageous offense, they wouldn't notify me," and he wouldn't in turn notify an RA or dean.

     West Campus facility manager Shawhan Lynch-Sparks has worked at Duke for fifteen years. She says things were much worse when both campuses had kegs beginning on Thursday night and continuing throughout the weekend. "In my opinion, there's as much drinking going on as before, but now people are getting loaded before going out," she says. "They're doing shots or they may have snuck a keg inside somewhere and are drinking behind closed doors." In terms of clean-up, "the biggest problems have been in all-male living groups, whether that was fraternities or all-male selective independent houses, which are essentially fraternities." She says her housekeeping staff still finds vomit in the bathrooms "but it's not the rule." If the mess is especially loathsome, she will "call the fraternity president or head of the living group and tell them they need to deal with it. My housekeepers don't get paid enough money to have to do that, and I don't think bad behavior should be rewarded."

     (In fraternity sections, at least, residents are now responsible for cleaning up their sections within twelve hours after the end of a registered party, Says the IFC's Sowers,"It's as basic as taking out the trash and sweeping and mopping. You know, the kind of stuff mothers should have taught their kids. But, because there's housekeeping, people think they can wait until Monday, This is my big challenge: to get Duke students to actually pick up after themselves. If I could do that, I'd be a miracle worker.")

bviously, the alcohol-related destruc- tion to person and property that takes place on campus does not occur after one or two beers. A 1994 national survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that 44 percent of college students engaged in binge drinking during the two weeks prior to the survey. Of those, about half -- one in five -- were frequent binge drinkers, binging three or more times in the prior two weeks. At Duke, a survey conducted in 1996 found that 45 percent of students who responded qualified as binge drinkers. (Developed by the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University with support from a U.S. Department of Education fund, the study concluded that the national binge rate was lower -- 39 percent -- than that found by the Harvard study.)

     Of the reported binge drinkers at Duke,

  • .31 percent said they performed poorly on a test or important project, compared to 7,4 percent of non-binge drinkers;
  • 64 percent reported missing a class, compared to 10 percent of non-binge drinkers;
  • 15 percent had been in trouble with police, residential advisers, or other authorities, compared to 3.7 percent;
  • 22 percent of the binge drinkers said they damaged property or pulled a fire alarm, compared to 1.3 percent of non-binge drinkers;
  • 40 percent got into a fight, compared to 10 percent;
  • 63 percent said they had done something they later regretted, compared to 16 percent.

     Although the survey reflects behaviors that were occurring as the more restrictive alcohol policy was just starting to take effect, student- health specialists say they continue to see the damaging effects of binge drinking. At the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office, staff psychologist and associate clinical professor of psychology and behavioral sciences Joseph Talley cites disturbing evidence of self-destructive, alcoholic behavior among students, "Alcohol is a major factor in many psychological and social problems," he says, including unwanted pregnancies, sexually trans- mitted diseases, violent acts, depression, and poor academic performance. Talley has heard troubling examples of premeditated consumption. Students often depend on alcohol to "loosen their social inhibitions. They will unwittingly put themselves in situations in which they are vulnerable and can be victimized."

     These alarming behaviors are not unique to Duke students, but university officials say they are more determined than ever to stay up to date with the latest information on alcohol research and treatment programs specifically geared to a college population. Education and prevention programs also have high priority, Duke substance-abuse specialist Jeanine Atkinson coordinates a number of programs to communicate to students the risks and costs of alcohol abuse, One sobering presentation focuses on what happens when a student is taken to the emergency room, complete with a financial breakdown of medical care and services. ("Guys seem particularly uncomfort- able with details about catheterization," she says.) There's also the frequently requested presentation, modeled after a similar program devised by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, that shows the cumulative effects of alcohol. (RAs are usually the guinea pigs who drink four to six drinks over the course of two hours and attempt various sobriety tests,) There is information geared exclusively for women, and a student-health home page on the World Wide Web has links to such data as how alcohol affects behavior and where to find help both on campus and beyond.

     Depending on the circumstances and severity of alcohol policy violations, students may be referred to Atkinson for counseling, She says that students may be resistant or resigned to the sessions, but usually express remorse or guilt that they put themselves or others -- friends, RAs -- in a compromising situation. More anecdotally, Atkinson says she's encouraged that greater numbers of students are informally seeking her out to talk about worries they have about their own, or a friend's, drinking.

     "Duke students in general have gotten along well with adults their whole lives, so having someone tell them they've gone too far can be new," says Atkinson, In the eighteen years she's been in substance-abuse prevention -- the last six at Duke -- Atkinson says she's seen a shift toward a more altruistic approach to treating alcohol problems. "We're trying to be more active and work toward preventing negative consequences rather than just focusing on enforcement, The message is, we're trying to look out for you."

     Dean of the Chapel Willimon agrees that it's incumbent upon other "adults" to model responsible behavior and deal frankly with issues of student behavior. In his 1993 report, he noted that grown-ups disappear after dark, leaving a campus full of undergraduates left to their own devices. Since then, the Faculty Associates program, which informally links instructors with dorm residents, has been launched to mixed results. Now a board member for the university's new Kenan Ethics Program, Willimon says he's engaged in intriguing conversations about the role faculty play in teaching young adults how to live their lives. "One faculty member told me he felt uncomfortable inculcating values and telling students how they should be ethical," he says, "And I said, I don't give a dern if it makes you uncomfortable, it's what we do. We're trying to shape them, We're all in the business of building values and character, So the question is not if we'll create a certain kind of people, but what kind?"

     The current alcohol policy, with its automatic sanctions for violating rules, is another way to instill the notion that exercising poor judgment has its consequences. Associate Dean of Student Development Paul Bumbalough '79 meets with students who have disobeyed the rules. "With the alcohol policy, it's pretty easy to figure out what's going to happen," he says. "If you plug in a category-one violation, out pops the sanction; it happens automatically. So when I meet with students, it's really just an opportunity to fact-find and explore with the student why they made the choices they did. I try to impress upon them the notion that the goal of the policy is to make individuals responsible for their own actions, and that's everything from initial procurement of alcohol to the decision to consume it, to consuming it irresponsibly."

t's unlikely that Duke will ever become a completely dry campus, but there are continued discussions about how to foster social settings that don't revolve around alcohol. When asked what alternatives there are to the West Campus party scene, some students seemed resigned to the fact that the quad bashes would always be the main form of entertainment. When pressed, they mentioned the East Campus Coffeehouse, Freewater Films, the Devil's Den game room, or staying in the dorms to read or surf the Internet.

Wretched Excess: Pyramid of punch, 1977

     But others have been more enterprising, joining together with like-minded friends to come up with creative options, Sharleen Johnson '99 is a good example of a student who witnessed the noisy excesses of West Campus and decided there had to be a better way, She joined SHARE (Student Housing for Academic and Residential Experimentation), a selective, cross-sectional living group on East. Throughout the semester, she and other members ran weekend movie nights in the dorm, had alcohol-free parties, organized a dance party in the East Campus Union with DJs and a laser show, held a prom in the Coffeehouse, had Thursday hot-chocolate study breaks, and held Sunday afternoon bagel brunches. She also cites the East Campus Council-sponsored student performance series in the Trinity Cafe on Friday nights -- with reduced food prices to encourage attendance -- as a potentially suc- cessful initiative. Three times a week, she also attends a hapkido club, and she participates in Plan-V, a vegetarian cooking organization.

     Fellow SHARE member Vanessa Lynn Smith says that after a discouraging freshman year, her current coterie is exactly what she'd hoped to find before she matriculated. "Please don't think we're a bunch of uptight, holier- than-thou moralists; nothing could be further from the truth," she says, "SHARE members are among the most open-minded and laid- back people I've met at Duke. I believe a lot of other non-fraternal living groups are simi- lar in this way." (At the end of the academic year, SHARE residents were told they would be moved from Epworth, where the group had been housed for more than ten years, to the top floor of Wilson House and perhaps, even- tually, to West.)

     There are also early indications that heavy partying is not seen as the badge of honor it once was. A member of the Class of 1997, who has been in a twelve-step recovery program since blacking out and waking up in a frater- nity section without her shoes or purse, says that she was initially terrified of how her friends would react to her sobriety, "I wondered what people would think of me. Now, most of the people closest to me know I don't drink, but if someone gives me static -- and it's usually men, not women -- I just tell them I don't drink." Other students have turned to her to find out what it's like not to drink at Duke, including sorority pledges.

     Associate Dean Bumbalough says he is encouraged by such developments from within the student population. "I do see some increase in students wanting to make sure other students aren't doing anything that's going to have really negative, perhaps life-threatening consequences. That's a positive development. Regardless of what policy we have in place, I think you will continue to see underage students accessing alcohol. When you look at this age group developmentally, it's just a natural time to push some boundaries and take advantage of newfound freedoms, College-age drinking is a complex issue and as much as all of us are willing to work together, I'm not sure there is a perfect solution."

     After his "Work Hard, Play Hard" report came out, Will Willimon was invited to dozens of other colleges to talk about student-life issues. "What I encountered on those other campuses was defensiveness and denial about student drinking," he says, "Duke is in the vanguard on this issue, we're asking the tough questions. And let's face it; alcohol is a social problem, not just a student problem, We can't endure modern society without being anesthetized. So I tell my students that they have -- we have -- a responsibility to question the way things are in the society at large. Being an educated person means you question culture's values and carve out for yourself a different future than what was offered to you growing up. We have to change the culture. The good news is that I think we're starting to see the first stirring of change."                                                     


Cafe society: at Hartman's, 1948

     The 1858-59 Trinity College handbook identified "drinking spirituous liquors and gambling" as the two most prevalent vices in college life and forbade them both. Noting that the "means and instruments of transgression" were often brought from home, the handbook implored parents to supervise what students brought to campus and promised that the university would do its part "to insure that they are not procured kom other sources."

Mugs up: SAEs at Cole's, 1950

     As social mores evolved, alcohol gradually became an accepted part of college life. University regulations and policies kept pace with changing attitudes, while attempting to provide a safe environment for students away from home. But even when the rules were fairly restrictive, undergraduates found ways to imbibe. In the late Forties, for example, the popular Saddle Club and Hartman's Steak House were places Duke men and women could enjoy a meal, a smoke, and plenty of beer.

     In the Fifties, residents of the Woman's College were forbidden to possess, transport, or use alcohol in any of the buildings or on campus grounds. The ban also extended to all functions -- banquets, dances, picnics -- sponsored by university organizations, as well as functions "where individuals or groups officially represent the University." But as yearbook photos of cabin parties attest, "co-eds" indulged right alongside their dates. By the mid Sixties, students were routinely drinking in dorms -- from both cans and kegs -- although drinking on university grounds or in public buildings was still prohibited. The 1968 Chanticleer described a typical Saturday afternoon as a time for football; postgame activities typically included"...a bottle of beer, a fifth of gin, bourbon, or scotch, some time alone with your date, depending on where she's from and how many times you've dated her!'

The race is on: Sigma Chi Derby Day chug-off, 1986

     In 1974, the first recorded alcohol policy was put on the books, At the time the drinking age in North Carolina was eighteen for beer and wine and twenty-one for harder spirits, and the policy basically reiterated the importance of observingstate law. (Reflecting the tenor of the times, rules about illegal drug consumptionand its consequences were explicit. The alcohol policy was modified in 1978. It became both morc lenient about when and where students could drink and more specific about sanctions against anyone abusing the privilege by exhibiting such behaviors as public drunkenness, littering, or destruction of university property or grounds, and disturbing the peace., Thc policy also called for non-alcoholic beverages to be available whenever alcohol was served at social functions.

     During the Eighties, kegs could be found in certain commons rooms every night of the week, and chugging contests and drinking games were part of the party landscape. The alcohol policy expanded by paragraphs, then pages, Parties had to be registered at least twenty-four hours in advance, and specific fines and punishments were spelled out for those violating state law. Distribution of liquor and mixed drinks was banned. By the early Nineties, the policy included mention of alcohol consumption as a health and safety concern, and restricted kegs to the weekend.

     The current policy bans distribution of alcohol That means no kegs (unless there are university-approved bartenders to dispense cups of beer), communal coolers, punch bowls, or refrigerators. Students who are over twenty-one can bring a reasonable amount of alcohol for personal consumption -- in practice that s a maximum of a twelve-pack of beer for a four-hour period. In recent years, Duke has added a health and safety intervention component, plus a tiered system of sanctions against individuals and groups.

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