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Administration enforces notification policy

The Office of the Dean of Students has made use of the University's parental notification policy three times thus far during the first semester of its implementation.

University President John T. Casteen III sent a letter to all students and parents this summer outlining the new policy.

The policy states that University administrators will contact a student's parents if it is determined that the student has a pattern of alcohol violations, or one severe violation. Parents are also notified in cases of arrest.

Dean of Students Penny Rue said of the three cases that have been subject to the policy, one was because of an arrest, one was because of severity and one was because of both pattern and severity.

Rue said the sample size is too small to generalize about the success of the policy.

"I think it's a useful tool, but I think the numbers are too small" to get a sense of the policy's effectiveness, she said.

William W. Harmon, vice president for student affairs, also said it is too soon to tell if the policy has been highly effective, but of the cases he is aware of, he said the policy has been applied appropriately.

Harmon said he will assess the policy at the end of the year to determine how successful it has been.

Asst. Dean of Students Aaron Laushway said the policy formalizes practices that the Office of the Dean of Students already has been enacting.

"Before, there was no requirement [to notify parents], although it often happened," Laushway said.

Rue said deans always give the student the opportunity to call their parents first, and in each case so far, the student has exercised that option. The dean handling the case has then called the parents and sent a follow-up letter.

Rue said her office follows up on all alcohol cases, whether parents are called or not.

"Whether or not a parent is notified, students may be referred for an alcohol education program and/or an alcohol assessment, and/or brought up on judicial charges," she said.

She added that the policy is "primarily designed to enlist parents to be helpful with students dealing with the negative consequences of drinking."