Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Regents discuss underage drinking, parental notification

Two University students died last year on two different campuses. The tragedies share one trait: Alcohol was involved the nights they died.

Following the deaths of University student Jonathan Thielen in February and University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Ken Christiansen in April, the Board of regents examined the well-being of students and alcohol use on all four campuses.

Parental notification policies for underage students caught drinking were again addressed at the Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs meeting Thursday.

“Alcohol is a major problem in society, and the University of Minnesota is no different,” said Ed Ehlinger, director of Boynton Health Service. But the University is not known to be a party school, he added.

University students participate less in binge drinking than students nationally, according to a Boynton report.

Nationally, 46.8 percent of college students drink to excess, compared with 35.5 percent of University students. The number of University students binge drinking has increased 5 percent since 1992.

The report also showed students who consume more than six drinks per week are more likely to skip classes and drive drunk than students who drink less.

UMD adopted a stricter parental notification policy following Christiansen’s death last April.

The Duluth campus policy allows for parents to be notified if the student consents in writing, the student is considered for tax purposes to be financially dependent on his or her parents, or if the student’s health needs to be protected in an emergency.

“We saw (the policy) as being no different from what common sense would dictate, but wanted to make it public,” said Kathryn Martin, Duluth chancellor.

She added that the policy helped make the UMD campus “a safe and strong environment in which to learn.”

Regents discussed differences in notification policies between University campuses.

Regent William Hogan said as a parent he would support a stricter policy. But other regents weren’t ready to make conclusions.

Regents Chairwoman Maureen Reed said the board should determine a goal concerning student use of alcohol and then pick the best policy to meet the goal.

“I sure would like to see us with goals of reduced harm,” Reed said. Students should be safe from the disruption and physical harm that can stem from drinking, she added.

Regent David Metzen shared his vision for the University and said he imagined the exact opposite of a party school.


Liz Kohman covers the Board of Regents and welcomes comments at [email protected]

Leave a Comment

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *