AOD Info for Parents

Parent/Guardian Information and Resources on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Risky behavior by college students is nothing new but across the country, the intensity and widespread prevalence of high-risk behaviors have increased in recent years. New students are particularly susceptible to a phenomenon known as the "college effect" where these high-risk behaviors spike during their transition to college. As partners, Kutztown University and parents can help reduce the negative consequences associated with substance use and abuse through education and healthy communication. 

  • Communicating With Your Student

    The key to addressing alcohol and other drug concerns with your student is COMMUNICATION. College Parents of America has outlined eight talking points for parents for talking to the students about alcohol concerns.

    • Set clear and realistic expectations regarding academic performance. Studies conducted nationally have demonstrated that partying may contribute as much to a student's decline in grades as the difficulty of his or her academic work. If students know their parents expect sound academic work, they are likely to be more devoted to their studies and have less time to get in trouble with alcohol.

    • Stress to students that alcohol is toxic and excessive consumption can fatally poison. This is not a scare tactic. The fact is students die every year from alcohol poisoning. Discourage dangerous drinking through participation in drinking games, fraternity hazing, or in any other way. Parents should ask their students to also have the courage to intervene when they see someone putting their life at risk through participation in dangerous drinking.

    • Tell students to intervene when classmates are in trouble with alcohol. Nothing is more tragic than an unconscious student being left to die while others either fail to recognize that the student is in jeopardy or fail to call for help due to fear of getting the student in trouble.

    • Tell students to stand up for their right to a safe academic environment. Students who do not drink can be affected by the behavior of those who do, ranging from interrupted study time to assault or unwanted sexual advances. Students can confront these problems directly by discussing them with the offender. If that fails, they should notify the housing director or other residence hall staff.

    • Know the alcohol scene on campus and talk to students about it. Students grossly exaggerate the use of alcohol and other drugs by their peers. A recent survey found that University of Oregon students believed 96 percent of their peers drink alcohol at least once a week, when the actual rate was 52 percent. Students are highly influenced by peers and tend to drink up to what they perceive to be the norm. Confronting misperceptions about alcohol use is vital.                                       
    • Avoid tales of drinking exploits from your own college years. Entertaining students with stories of drinking back in "the good old days" normalizes what, even then, was abnormal behavior. It also appears to give parental approval to dangerous alcohol consumption.

    • Encourage your student to volunteer in community work. In addition to structuring free time, volunteerism provides students with opportunities to develop job-related skills and to gain valuable experience. Helping others also gives students a broader outlook and a healthier perspective on the opportunities they enjoy. Volunteer work on campus helps students further connect with their school, increasing the likelihood of staying in college.

    • Make it clear - Underage alcohol consumption and alcohol-impaired driving are against the law. Parents should make it clear that they do not condone breaking the law. Parents of college students should openly and clearly express disapproval of underage drinking and dangerous alcohol consumption. And, if parents themselves drink, they should present a positive role model in the responsible use of alcohol. 

    Questions to Ask Before College

    • How will you decide whether or not to drink at college?
    • What will you do if you find yourself at a party with only alcohol to drink?
    • What will you do if your roommate only wants to drink and party?
    • What will you do if you find a student passed out in the bathroom?
    • How will you handle it if you are asked to babysit someone who is very drunk?

    Questions to Ask During the First 6 Weeks of College

    • How are you doing?
    • Do you like your classes?
    • What is the party scene like?
    • What kind of activities are available?
    • Are you enjoying residence life? Why?
    • Do you see others making friends or just drinking buddies?
    • How are you getting along with your roommate?
    • Are you feeling overwhelmed?
    • What can we do to help?
  • Consequences of AOD Violations

    Parents should realize that the university's main goal is the development and success of its students. Therefore, our approach in addressing student misconduct, particularly as it relates to alcohol-related incidents, is an educational one.  At the same time, students are held accountable for decisions they make and violations of the Student Code of Conduct. We understand that everyone makes mistakes from time to time and our goal in addressing alcohol incidents is to have students reflect on a miscue and learn from their behavior so it is not repeated in the future. Parents can play a key role in this process. In partnering with the university to address student misconduct, parents can help reinforce the message that the misuse of alcohol serves no legitimate purpose, is not consistent with institutional AND parental expectations and is simply not in the students' best interest.

    Students accused of violating the university's alcohol or drug policies are required to go through an on-campus student conduct process. This process deals with violations of university policy and is separate from any criminal process that a student may go through for the same incident. Typically, students who are responsible for these violations (first offense) will be issued a disciplinary reprimand or placed on disciplinary probation and assigned alcohol education. More egregious violations or repeat offenders risk more serious consequences including housing and/or university suspension. 

  • Educational Resources
  • Parental Notification & Student Records

    Parental Notification of AOD Violations

    Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), colleges and universities are granted an exception to release notification that a student has been found responsible for an alcohol or drug violation. Kutztown University's policy notifies students after their first offense that they are strongly encouraged to discuss the violation with their parents and that if there are subsequent violations, a notification will be sent to their parents if they are under the age of 21.

    Educational Records Related to Violations

    FERPA sets guidelines on access to the educational records of college students. As a result of this federal legislation, student records (including student conduct incidents) are considered confidential and may not be shared with third parties, including parents and family members, without the appropriate authorization. For more information about student releases please visit KU's FERPA page.