Parental/Guardian Notification Protocol
One of the greatest challenges on college campuses today is the complex issue of substance abuse. Nationally, substance abuse is frequently linked to poor academic performance and often impacts the quality of life and learning of others in the community. Over the last several years, the University community has undertaken significant efforts to reduce high-risk and illegal drinking and its impact on our community. In 1998, expansive Federal legislation was signed into law in an effort to give universities additional tools to address substance abuse on campus. One notable change permits the disclosure of information pertaining to alcohol and drug violations to a student’s parents or guardians. The University of Vermont implemented such a process beginning Fall Semester 1999. After a great deal of consideration, we believe this is an important step in maintaining a quality learning environment for all students.
While ultimately each student determines their own path at UVM, we believe that promoting a partnership with students and parents is a critical element in helping students make a successful transition to college life and beyond. To this end, we have and will continue to stress the importance of ongoing dialogue between students and their families. As of Fall Semester 1999, the University sends written notification to the parents or guardians of students who are under 21 years old when they have been found responsible for violating the University’s Alcohol, Cannabis, and Other Drug Use policy. The notification letter does not include information from prior incidents or any case specifics. In order for detailed information about student conduct incidents to be shared with any third party, a signed Waiver of Confidentiality from the student is required.
We recognize that not all students greet this policy with enthusiasm. However, the University of Vermont is committed to the success of every student. Research clearly shows that addressing the problem of alcohol or drug abuse in isolation is the least effective route to a successful outcome. We are committed to outlining the standards of the community, intervening with students when we become aware of problems, and sharing information with parents, to ensure that students will have the greatest opportunity for success in college.
We hope notification will prompt students and their families to discuss the nature of the incident and identify strategies to avoid future violations. When students, with or without guidance from their parents, do not choose responsible paths, the University must make decisions that are in the best interest of the campus community.