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History of University Initiatives on Alcohol

In October 1997, the Board of Trustees appointed Edward L. Bishop, III to coordinate a comprehensive review of the role of alcohol at Washington and Lee. Over the next three years, working in cooperation with administration, student and faculty leaders, the trustees developed a program that focused on three primary components: education, counseling and discipline. The University developed a comprehensive freshman orientation program, hired a health educator, established an alcohol-free student programming, monitored alcohol arrest and health center trends, and introduced new and innovative educational strategies to raise awareness and change behavior.

In the fall of 2000, then-President Elrod established the Alcohol Task Force to augment the work of the Board of Trustees. The Alcohol Task Force was charged to explore ways to change the culture of alcohol at Washington and Lee, to develop new policies and procedures to reduce the harmful impact of substance abuse, and to implement new policies to hold individuals and groups accountable for behavior that violates University policy and Commonwealth law.

In April 2001, the Alcohol Task Force released its report to the Washington and Lee community. Over the next month, those involved in the review process reviewed further input from students, staff, faculty, parents and trustees. In May, the Board of Trustees approved a special "Policy Statement on Substance Abuse" and "Board Resolution" that served as introductions to the new "University Initiatives on Substance Abuse." At a special faculty meeting on May 28, 2001, the faculty approved the "University Initiatives on Substance Abuse (UISA)."

When adopted in May 2001, the Board of Trustees and faculty asked that the UISA be reviewed after a full four years of implementation. In the fall of 2005 an extensive review began including students, faculty, staff, alumni and parent representatives. The review fully examined the current policies underscoring the University's commitment to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing a safe and productive educational environment for our students, and with an emphasis on being good neighbors within Lexington and Rockbridge County. In the spring of 2006, the updated Initiatives, the University Initiatives on Alcohol and Other Drugs, were adopted.

These initiatives are based on the recommendations of the Review Committees of the University Initiatives on Substance Abuse (2010-2011), with input from undergraduate and law students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and the Board of Trustees.

A review of the University Initiatives on Alcohol and Other Drugs will be undertaken every two years in compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA). Such a review should include input from students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and the Board of Trustees.