Should Student Training for Faith-Based Campuses Address Alcohol?

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 5 July 2016 |

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Federal Laws Require Primary Prevention and Training Programs

faith based campus alcohol trainingWhen it comes to preventing sexual violence on campus, federal laws require that primary and awareness programming must be made available to all newly enrolled students. The aim of this programming is to foster healthy relationships and positive behaviors, in addition to informing students about how they can prevent violence and promote safety.

And since alcohol is involved in the majority of campus sexual assault cases, it makes sense that the majority of colleges and universities address alcohol and partying in their prevention programs and training.

The Majority of Faith-Based Campuses are Alcohol-Free

But what about faith-based campuses? According to an informal poll we conducted last month, an overwhelming majority of faith-based campuses do not allow lawful drinking.

So the question becomes, should faith-based campuses address alcohol and drinking in their prevention programing and training, or should they exclude it?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this difficult question. Ultimately to achieve the most success, the programming and training you select should reflect your campuses culture, and if that doesn’t include legal drinking, then you shouldn’t be forced to include it.

From a legal perspective, it is still important to include some information about the relationship between alcohol, drugs and interpersonal and sexual violence.

Examples of Information to Include in Your Training

It’s important for students to know that even non-alcoholic drinks can be targets of so-called “date rape drugs,” so all students need information on how to keep drinks safe, and what signs to look out for.

Plus, students may encounter alcohol and drugs at off-campus events, or they may need to support friends or siblings, so it's good to have a grounding in the different issues and challenges that can come up.

And for campuses that do allow for legal drinking can incorporate the message that underage drinking is never allowed—only lawful drinking. And even then, students must behave responsibly—something that the training should emphasize.

For example, students should be made aware of the signs of alcohol abuse so that they can recognize if they, or someone they know, may have a problem and where they can go for help.

It’s also important to teach students that there are other alternatives to partying and drinking that fill the need for social gatherings:

  • Volunteering together
  • Playing music or performing theater
  • Sports and other recreational activities
  • Playing board games at coffee shops
  • Going to concerts

Finally, students should be made aware of the consequences of drinking, both when it comes to violating your code of conduct, but also what can happen if they break law or engage in dangerous behavior.

Conclusion

Whatever approach your faith-based campuses chooses, be sure to give strategies and tips for how to stay safe and follow the laws.

Watch our latest webinar for faith-based campuses where we discuss how your faith-based campuses can comply with the laws when it comes to prevention training without compromising your values or beliefs.

To learn more, you can also schedule a demo of our prevention training designed specifically for faith-based colleges and universities.

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