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Revised U of C Alcohol Policy now in effect

By Ashar Memon and Matty Hume, January 23 2019 —

A newly revised Alcohol Policy placing a greater emphasis on alcohol harm reduction, education and awareness came into effect at the University of Calgary on Jan. 15 after months of consultation with campus stakeholders.

The Alcohol Policy outlines rules on serving and consuming alcohol in U of C facilities and at events to ensure that the university complies with Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission regulations.

Under the policy, alcohol can only be consumed on campus at designated locations and at events with licensed servers.

“Consumption is permitted in private student residences on campus, but not in public spaces,” read a statement from the U of C, attributed to director of ancillary services Shane Royal. “All other areas of the campus are considered public areas where the use of alcohol is prohibited.”

The new policy incorporates “a more modern approach to regulating alcohol on campus,” according to documents submitted to the General Faculties Council (GFC) in December. The U of C says that the policy priotizes education, awareness and harm-reduction strategies.

“The policy has been drafted with harm reduction in mind, recognizing there is a risk that an overly strict policy may result in non-compliance which would not be helpful in terms of harm reduction,” read the GFC documents.

Notable policy points include pledges to encourage the development of alcohol-free spaces, events and programs, along with education and awareness programs to identify risks and harms associated with alcohol consumption.

The documents state that breaches to the policy may result in discipline under the Student Non-Academic Misconduct Policy.

The Alcohol Policy was first approved and put into effect in 1993. The only revision to the document was 20 years ago, in February 1999.

“As the university’s approach to management of alcohol shifted to ensure best practices the 1999 policy lost relevancy and was removed from the university’s policies page,” read the GFC documents.

The Gauntlet was unable to retrieve a copy of the old Alcohol Policy from the U of C’s website. The GFC documents state that the old policy is dramatically different than the new policy.

The new Alcohol Policynow accompanies the university’s Cannabis Policy, which was implemented in September 2018 shortly before the national legalization of recreational cannabis.

The GFC documents state that the policy went forward after a “review of the university’s approach to managing legal, potentially harmful substances on campus prompted by the legalization of cannabis.”

The documents also state that between February and September 2018, the drafting team behind the new policy consulted dozens of stakeholders on campus, from the Students’ Union to the Campus Mental Health Strategy to the Alcohol Harm Reduction Group.

The consultation period capped off in October with a discussion of the policy at the GFC meeting. The policy was presented to the U of C Board of Governors in mid-December.

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