Alcohol report delayed

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Photo by Sharon Yin.

Despite months of delay, the University Council Committee on Alcohol has still not yet finalized its advisory report on alcohol policy that was scheduled for release last spring.

The committee — which consists of five members of University President Peter Salovey’s University Council and five outside experts, while also being assisted by Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 — was announced to the Yale College student body in December 2012 by Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Goff-Crews to address growing concerns from students and other members of the Yale community about the college’s alcohol and drug policies. The committee was supposed to send its recommendations on how to improve the University’s alcohol policies to the President’s Office at the end of 2013, according to the December 2012 announcement from Miller and Goff-Crews. But the report’s submission was delayed, and its current status remains unclear.

Yale College Dean’s Office fellows Hannah Peck DIV ’11 and Garrett Fiddler ’11 said that the delay in the report’s submission is not problematic. Most other committees of the University Council work for 18 months before making their recommendations, Peck said.

“It was a very ambitious schedule,” Fiddler said about the committee’s self-imposed spring 2013 deadline, adding that he is not surprised that it has taken longer than projected to formulate the recommendations.

Peck and Fiddler were both previously members of the Yale College Dean’s Office Task Force on Alcohol and Other Drugs, a group composed entirely of Yale College community members that submitted policy recommendations to the University Council Committee on Alcohol in April. Former Yale College Council President John Gonzalez ’13, also a member of the YCDO task force, said the delay is not an issue since the committee’s spring 2013 deadline was self-determined and unofficial.

Peck said that the committee may actually benefit from taking more time to form its recommendations, since the influence of alcohol policy on the student population is so nuanced. Fiddler agreed with Peck, adding that he would have been worried, had the committee rushed to produce results.

“I think it is in some ways encouraging that things have taken more time,” he said. “It shows thorough examination of the problem.”

Individuals involved with the committee gave conflicting accounts of the report’s current status.

According to committee member Kate Carey, a professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, the report has been compiled but has not yet been submitted to anyone outside of the group itself. The report must first be presented to the larger University Council at its December 2013 meeting before it can be sent to a wider audience, she said.

But Marjorie Berman, a Woodbridge Fellow at the University Office of the Secretary and Vice President, said that the recommendations have already been communicated to Salovey.

“As an advisory body to the President, the University Council does not normally publish its findings,” Berman said in an email to the News. “They have made recommendations to the President, and he will release information about them as new initiatives begin.”

Still, others reported different timelines for the report’s publication. Peck said that even if the recommendations are already written and just need to be finalized in the December University Council meeting, the recommendations may have already been shown to Salovey in an informal setting.

“My understanding about what is happening at the moment is that the President’s response is being written,” Peck said.

Other than the University Council Committee on Alcohol, only one other University Council Committee is currently active — the Committee on West Campus. Past committees have included the Committee on a Sustainable Yale and the Committee on New Haven Economic Development.

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