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Gilmore gives $5,000 to combat drinking

Governor James S. Gilmore (R) has allocated $5,000 to the University through the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to combat underage drinking on Grounds.

The grant is one of eight awarded to colleges and universities in Virginia as part of "Operation Undergrad." According to a July 18 press release, the program funds campus law enforcement efforts to reduce underage alcohol consumption by college students.

University Police spokeswoman Melissa Fielding said that the University will use the funds to pay for more officers patrolling around Grounds.

"The grant will be used for special enforcement efforts in central Grounds, including Rugby Road and McCormick Road areas," Fielding said.

She said the amount of the grant is adequate and that it is used to provide manpower in addition to normal patrols.

Related Links
  • Office of Governor Jim Gilmore Homepage

    She added that 17 alcohol-related arrests were made on Grounds last year and that number is expected to rise this year.

    ABC spokesperson Suzanne Horsley said the grants are supposed to serve as seed money to "jumpstart or augment" already existing programs.

    ABC Education Manager Maureen Earley said programs that are assisted by the state last longer than those fully funded by the state.

    When programs are started with seed money, "more money is added and then [the program] is institutionalized," she said.

    Lila White, deputy press secretary for the governor, said the grant is part of Gilmore's commitment to upholding and enforcing the law in Virginia.

    Underage drinking "is against the law, and Gov. Gilmore believes people ought to obey the law," White said.

    She said the grant is especially timely "in light of the very regrettable situations in colleges around the state," referring to several alcohol-related accidents over the past few years.

    The 1997 death of fourth-year College student Leslie Ann Baltz and its possible connection to the "fourth-year fifth" made national headlines.

    That year, a student also died in an alcohol-related accident at Virginia Tech.