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Thursday, October 14, 2010

JMU Prevention Summary

I have asked JMU for a number of documents under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. One of the documents I received is "JMU Prevention Summary".  I have included the four page report below.
(If you click on the page and then click again it will enlarge so you can read the details)


The JMU Prevention Summary presents a large number of prevention efforts.  The model of Universal, Targeted and Indicated Prevention programs address prevention efforts at a variety of levels. The Environmental Prevention & Early Intervention Policies include the "Three Strikes" policy which I view as a major flaw in the prevention effort.  The prevention efforts are heavily focused on education and increased knowledge and awareness about alcohol, it's negative impact on students, the social norms information and general health information.  There is an unstated underlying assumption that the JMU negative alcohol culture is caused by students lack of knowledge about alcohol. I have a large question about this unstated assumption.  I think today's JMU students arrive at JMU with a better knowledge base about alcohol than any previous group of JMU freshman.  What I see as lacking is JMU students experiencing meaningful consequences for their alcohol violations and misconduct.  I see JMU as reluctant to offend alumni, parents and students by using the power of suspension.   I think JMU will need support from outside of JMU to implement meaningful change that goes beyond education and moves to accountability for alcohol misconduct by making dramatic changes in JMU Judicial Affairs policies.  I think the JMU "Your Call" marketing campaign referred to in President Rose's letter to the students, is reflective of the "bystander" era of legal liability rather than the "duty" era (see earlier post:"The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University: Who Assumes the Risk of College Life?"  ) of legal liability of universities.  I think on the JMU "Your Call Marking campaign" web page the message of the university as "bystander" is reflected by the following statement:

".The "Your Call" brand identity and corresponding marketing materials reinforce to students that the University Health Center's Substance Abuse Prevention will provide them with various tools and educational resources, but as young adult, the decision is ultimately "their call."

  To me the end of the statement attempts to distance JMU's duty to provide a safe environment for students and share the legal responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of JMU students. The marketing campaign started in 2008 and the riots occur in 2010. Makes me wonder if the marketing campaign was effective and how was the effectiveness of the campaign measured.

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