Dear students,

We hope you had a successful end to the fall quarter and are now beginning a well-deserved break. It was wonderful to be back in person together this fall, even as the pandemic continued to challenge each of us in many ways. We’re so grateful for your perseverance and care for one another throughout this journey.

As the quarter was coming to an end, we continued to hear concerns from students and other members of our community on the topic of alcohol and drug use. Before too much time passes, we want to provide an update, and also preview for you some new things we are planning for the winter quarter.

First, we’re deeply appreciative of the feedback provided by our student residential staff, resident fellows and ASSU leadership. Additionally, we’d like to thank the 5-SURE leadership team that shared its feedback in this recent op-ed. We continue to welcome your thoughts and feedback on these important issues.

We’ve heard from students and others who continue to be concerned about alcohol consumption and drug use; about unregistered parties; and about students who may not seek help when they need it because they worry about being held accountable for a policy violation. As well, we’ve heard concerns about not having enough social events available to students, especially substance-free events.

These are concerns for us, too. We are committed to continuously evaluating what we are doing – and responding in a timely way to emerging issues. So, here’s what we are going to do this winter:

  • Provide additional funding and better promote substance-free events (including Cardinal Nights)
  • Provide funding to neighborhood community councils for late-night programming at the house and neighborhood level
  • Provide additional support to student staff in winter quarter including refresher training

In addition, the university will be engaging experts to conduct an external review of our approaches to student alcohol and drug misuse. We want to draw on all available expertise as we strengthen our approach to this public health concern. We hope to learn more about where we are being effective, where we need to change, and what we need to start anew.

While this external review is under way, we will continue the initiatives we’ve already launched, including the revised alcohol and other drug policy and its accountability structure. We have received some important questions from students about the accountability structure and Good Samaritan clause, and we will be sending you clarifying information early in the winter quarter.  This fall we also pursued other alcohol and drug initiatives that are worth your knowing about, including:

Our efforts have been informed by two years of policy research, data and student feedback, with many components designed to work together to create a healthier and safer environment for students. We are encouraged by what’s working well, and energized by the commitment of students like everyone who has made Well House and PEERs real and relevant. At the same time, we acknowledge that we need to continuously assess our progress and approaches toward the goal of mitigating high-risk behaviors and keeping our community safe.

Thank you for your engagement and feedback as we continue this work.


Mona Hicks
Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students

Dr. Jim Jacobs
Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director, Vaden Health Services