University wraps up alcohol policy review, details changes

GW’s alcohol education office completed its two-year review of the University’s alcohol policy this week, clarifying several rules but tweaking only minor parts of the policy.

The Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education made small changes to simplify event registration – giving students an extra day to fill out forms and cutting out steps to approval. The pages of changes will go into effect for events registered after Oct. 6.

This follows a review process that involved students as well as the University’s legal and risk management offices and D.C.’s alcohol regulation agency.

The University also announced that it would begin reviewing its “bring your own beverage” policy for events where organizers do not provide all the event’s alcohol, but still allow students to drink.

Eleven students, including six Greek representatives, will meet three staff members from the Center for Student Engagement, CADE and the risk management office. Alexis Janda, CADE’s associate director, will chair the committee’s meetings and said she hopes to continue pushing a dialogue about alcohol procedures through the group.

The new policy also reduces the ratio of required students trained in Responsible Alcohol Management. The ratio for undergraduates is now one-to-25 attendees instead of one-to-20. It also cemented the graduate student ratio of one-to-50 attendees.

And instead of all RAM-trained students signing GW’s event paperwork, only two students will be required to do so – though those students must remain sober the entire day of the event.

It also clarifies that students must hire a licensed vendor to serve alcohol at an event, though the policy was not enforced by the University or followed by students.

“I honestly believe that maybe somewhere along the way there had been an exception made to that and quite possibly that exception kind of became the rule, because it happened more often than not,” Janda said.

This new policy will force new costs onto organizations like the Student Bar Association, which often serves alcohol at events and did not use licensed vendors in the past, unless the event was housed in the Marvin Center.

Another key aspect of the policy that requires organizers to provide food at events that serve alcohol will go into effect next fall so that groups can factor the added cost into their budgets when requesting SA funds.

This component was also set to go into effect with the rest of the policy in October, but Janda said students pushed her to reconsider.

Nicole Tyrell, the Student Bar Association’s chief of staff who worked closely with Janda to shape the policy, said repeated meetings with Janda over several months reassured her that Janda was taking student input into account.

“It really made me feel like she really listened to what the law school had to say,” Tyrell said.

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