University | 9:31 pm | July 26, 2013 | By Cynthia Hua

Yale receives C grade for drug, alcohol policies

The Yale College Council released a report in April offering five recommendations to improve alcohol culture at Yale.
The Yale College Council released a report in April offering five recommendations to improve alcohol culture at Yale. Photo by Christopher Peak.

Yale received a “C” grade for its drug and alcohol policies in a “Campus Drug and Alcohol Gradebook” released by nonprofit organization Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) on July 22.

In its gradebook, SSDP, a national umbrella organization for chapters on many college campuses, examined the written alcohol and drug policies of the top 300 colleges, as listed by Forbes Magazine’s 2013 rankings. Schools displayed a bell-curve of grades, with the average school falling in the C-range, said Devon Tackles, SSDP’s outreach director.

The major flaws with Yale’s policies are its lack of clearly defined sanctions for violating drug and alcohol regulations and its limited medical amnesty policies, Tackles said.

“One of the biggest reason was because of the vagueness of the sanctions listed,” Tackles said. “[The policy] read as – if you violate, this is what might potentially happen [followed by] purely a list of possible sanctions and it doesn’t give clear sanctions for clear violations.”

An ideal policy has more detail, Tackles said, with specific disciplinary consequences, such as a mandatory education class.

Yale’s good samaritan policy only covers 9-11 callers in an alcohol-related medical emergency and not victims themselves, Tackles said.  Furthermore, the amnesty does not cover victims or callers in drug-related situations, Tackles said.

“Students are strongly encouraged to call for medical assistance for themselves or for a friend who is dangerously intoxicated; such a call for emergency help does not in itself lead to disciplinary charges,” states the Yale undergraduate alcohol regulations.

In response to the gradebook, University Spokesman Tom Conroy said the Yale College Dean’s Office Task Force on Alcohol and Other Drugs and the University Council Committee on Alcohol in Yale College demonstrate Yale’s commitment to improving alcohol regulations.

“SSDP is entitled to its opinion, but it is not an organization that the University relies on when formulating its policies,” Conroy added.

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