BSU to notify parents about drug, alcohol infringements

As of fall 2002, the university will notify parents if a student under 21 violates Ball State's alcohol or drug policies.

The Parental Notification Policy is part of the continuing movement to reduce underage drinking and deter irresponsible consumption, said Douglas McConkey, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Tolu Olowomeye, Student Government Association president, said parents or guardians of students under 21 will be notified of delinquency for a first violation of the drug policy, a second violation of the alcohol policy, or a first violation of the alcohol policy if a student compromises the health and safety of himself or herself and/or the that of other students.

The new action stems from an amendment in 1998 to a federal law governing privacy of student records. Family Education Rights and Privacy Act permits colleges and universities to inform parents or guardians of illegal activity.

Brian Farber, chairman of the Parental Notification Task Group, said Ball State has established criteria so that every incident will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

"Sometimes notifying parents can be very negative," said McConkey.

Farber said it is expected that exceptions will be made to accommodate extreme circumstances if the well-being of a student is jeopardized.

Students between 18 and 21, especially those who are financially independent, have expressed concern regarding the policy, Olowomeye said.

"What message is this sending out? Ball State is supposed to graduate adults," Olowomeye said. "That can't occur if individuals are not treated as adults. By notifying students' parents, the university operates as a babysitter figure."

Farber maintains that the goal of the policy is only to partner with parents to help students make healthier, safer decisions.

Although several Mid-American Conference universities have adopted similar policies since 1998, Farber said he understands that it will be difficult to prove whether notification will work well for Ball State.

"The policy will be seriously reviewed after a year's time, and any necessary modifications or revisions will be made," he said. "This first year will just start us on the path to changing the college culture of using drugs and alcohol."$$2a+â-+[y}nu?+â+â-æ+â-Ö