Virginia Tech Takes Fun Out of College

The university already has a "three strikes" policy

By Asha Beh
|  Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 AM EDT
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Virginia Tech Takes Fun Out of College

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Dozens of Coast Guard cadets are busted for underage drinking and drug use.

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Virginia Tech is now notifying parents when students under 21 are disciplined for alcohol- and drug-related violations.

Tech officials said they're exercising a provision of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that allows the university to notify parents when students are disciplined for alcohol and drug-related infractions -- even on a first offense.

The university adopted the new policy in January in response to many parental requests. Students were told of the new policy by campus e-mail Jan. 22.

What happened to what happens at college, stays at college?

Yes, underage drinking and drug use is bad, bad, bad. But college used to be a time of experimentation and exploration. Of learning things in your books and out, like indecent texting, YouTubing your roommates' less-than-finer moments and posting photos on Facebook that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Not a time for your university to rat you out on your first stupid attempt at partying hard.  

Virginia Tech already has a "three strikes'' policy in effect for alcohol violations. And, under cooperative agreements, local and state police report off-campus violations such as underage alcohol possession to the university.

Under a previous policy, parents were also notified of violations only after a second offense -- which became a problem, according to Ed Spencer, vice president for student affairs.

"What's happened over the years is you'd have a student who's found responsible for a minor violation [considered strike one under the university's policy]. Then they get involved in a major, or second, strike, and before the parents even knew about it, they were suspended," Spencer told the Roanoke Times.

And, while some students see the new policy as a violation of their privacy rights as adults, others agree with it.

 

"It's a good change for the most part," said Eric Evert, an 18-year-old Tech mathematics major. "You're only going to be angry about it if you're going to be doing it -- and you shouldn't."

"Parents are paying the bill for college," 18-year-old biology major Grace Mulholland said. "They should be notified." 

But of course they should. Can you hear the sound of certain would-be Virginia Tech students crumpling up their applications?


 

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