FARGO - North Dakota State University rolled out a long-term plan to reduce student alcohol and drug use today.
The plan proposes to tackle the issue from a wide range of angles, from a new online alcohol education course for all incoming freshmen to more late-night weekend events on campus.
President Joseph Chapman was set to unveil the plan at his State of the University address this fall, said university spokeswoman Najla Amundson. But in light of a recent spate of drunk driving arrests of NDSU football players, the university decided to present the plan this summer.
However, Amundson stressed, the plan is the result of a two-year effort by the President's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs rather than a rushed reaction to the athlete arrests.
"The issue of high-risk drinking among our students is personal to me, both as a parent and as the president of this university," Chapman, who is traveling outside the country, said in a letter. "I believe confronting this issue is necessary to student success."
The plan addresses athletics in particular, with two new educational programs for athletes starting this fall.
Four NDSU football players were arrested for DUIs in the past six months. Two other players had drug arrests.
According to a 2008 NDSU study, 51 percent of students report binge drinking at least once in the previous two weeks - a rate campus officials say is in line with those at universities in the region but higher than the national average.