More than two dozen faculty and students at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls are reviewing the university’s policies and practices in relation to alcohol use by students. The UNI Alcohol Task Force co-chair Dave Towle says the group was not formed in reaction to any specific problems on campus.
"We just wanted to step back and take a look at what we’re doing on campus regarding alcohol education and prevention of harmful activities…and also take a look at how we compare to what we might identify as ‘best practices’ in those areas from other universities around the country," Towle said. Towle, who is the director of counseling at UNI, says his office often works with students whose frequent alcohol consumption has led to skipping class and poor grades.
"We also see problems that I think are more acute, in the sense that a person may have had some particularly bad experiences with alcohol on a few occasions or may have been victimized in some way as a result of their drinking or may have gotten into legal difficulties with their alcohol use," Towle said. The task force is scheduled to issue recommendations to address any problems with alcohol on campus next February.
"We’re looking at all aspects of it…from identifying and referring students who may have problems with alcohol and trying to communicate better about what goes on in the residence halls with law enforcement and intervention specialists. We’re also taking a look at how alcohol is used in some of the more formal university activities such as tailgating around football games and things like that," Towle said. Most of the more than 12,000 students that attend UNI are from the state of Iowa.