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Miami University Concerned About Drinking Binge

Miami University
Miami says it is alarmed and taking steps to get the drinking problem under control.

"Alarming" is how Miami University officials describe the hospitalization of 21 students this weekend for alcohol abuse.

The ambulance runs started when a self-imposed moratorium by sororities and fraternities on alcohol events expired Thursday following  "rush," or the recruitment of new pledges.

University spokeswoman Claire Wagner says President Gregory Crawford had about 50-55 sorority and fraternity presidents at his home Friday to talk about the problem. He has also asked student leaders, faculty and staff for input about what else to do.

It's not that Miami has closed its eyes to the problem. It 's been proactive with these programs already in place:

  1. Alcohol policies that include no alcohol in first-year residence halls and a Code of Conduct policy that result in mandatory suspension after 2 or 3 alcohol violations. 
  2. A partnership with students and the City of Oxford to reduce open off-campus parties where much dangerous drinking occurs.
  3. The creation of an Alcohol Coordinating Committee with five work groups, some including Oxford residents, to address specific issues and recommend actions.

New this year: Birth dates on student ID cards, virtual town hall for more than 200 parents on the topic of student alcohol abuse.

On March 9 Miami will host an official from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to assess Miami’s programs.  The university says its working with Oxford to help train uptown vendors and taxi drivers to recognize alcohol poisoning.

Police and Oxford say this is costing us

Our news partner WCPO reportsSgt. Jon Varley said he had never seen the problem this bad.

"This past weekend, we had three life squads out and we still had to call for help," Varley said, "This is spreading our resources very thin."

Varley and the Mayor, Kate Rousemaniere, are calling on Miami to take action.

Rousemaniere says it's also becoming a financial problem for the city.

"It costs a lot for the EMS and police and fire squads to deal with these issues, but it's also a real human problem that we are worried about too," Rousemaniere said. 

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.