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Higher Ed in the News

Virginia Tech enlists parents' help to curb underage drinking

March 1, 2010

This semester, Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, Va., began notifying parents when their under-21 students were found guilty of even minor alcohol violations, such as getting caught with a beer in a dorm room.

Virginia Tech is part of a small but growing number of colleges and universities sending letters home to alert parents of even minor alcohol offenses.

The debate about how much to involve parents is a balancing act for colleges and universities. Officials want to hold young adults accountable as they venture out on their own and are well aware that drinking is part of the college experience, but they also recognize potential allies in a generation of hands-on parents who can help when things go too far.

The enhanced parental-notification policy is part of a broader strategy that includes alcohol-education classes and a "party positive" program that encourages responsible drinking.

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