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OU says drinking cases down amid tough new alcohol policy

Ohio University’s new get-tough policy on student drinking
resulted in 32 percent fewer alcohol violations last school year, compared to
the same period a year before, school officials said.

“We not only saw a downward trend, we saw a significant
downward trend,” said Terry Hogan, the university’s dean of students.

But the number of drug cases mostly marijuana offenses rose
24 percent to 331 during the same period, a trend that university officials
said will result in a new marijuana policy for the 2007-2008 school year.

The university toughened its alcohol policies last fall to
include harsher penalties for drinking violations, with a mandatory $100 fee
for each offense.

Students are also required to attend an alcohol-education
class and can be put on probation for up to a year. Students who commit a
second violation are often suspended, a university statement said.

OU also contacts parents when students younger than the
legal drinking age are cited.

“It’s a harsh, unfair policy,” said Howard
Bob-Manuel, a 21-year-old senior from Westerville.
“Everyone wants to be a little wild when they first go to college.
Students hate being treated like they’re still in high school.”

Fines for fall and winter quarter during the last year
totaled $109,000, the statement said. The money helped fund counseling and
education programs on campus. Figures for the spring quarter were not

Athens police
Capt. Tom Pyle said that as more students are punished for drinking, the annual
Halloween bash in Athens will
likely lose its attraction for partygoers.

The holiday party typically attracts more than 20,000 people
to downtown streets, but last fall city police and the university stepped up
surveillance and tougher penalties on students for alcohol violations.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,

– Associated Press

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