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Underage drinking should concern all

Last Wednesday, University of North Texas officials announced a ban on alcohol consumption at Panhellenic events after an 11-day investigation raised concerns about the alleged availability of alcohol to minors.

UNT spokeswoman Kelley Reese said the ban, which went into effect immediately, prohibits alcohol at Panhellenic events, whether they are on campus or not. The events include parties, mixers, icebreakers, date parties, formals or any event involving a fraternity or sorority.

UNT is working to put a task force into place to raise awareness about the responsible use of alcohol and ensure that the rules are carried out. The task force will include fraternity and sorority members and advisers as well as faculty members.

The ban will remain in place until the task force decides it can be lifted, Reese said.

Providing alcohol to a minor and the consumption of alcohol by a minor are both against the law, and if UNT’s investigation resulted in concerns about the alleged availability of alcohol to minors, we believe the ban is an appropriate response.

We also applaud the university’s decision to establish a task force to raise awareness about the responsible use of alcohol.

Including students on the task force should be an effective way to communicate the importance of following the rules, and it’s in the best interest of sororities and fraternities to make sure that this message is emphasized.

The university instituted the ban to help its organizations understand the responsible and legal use of alcohol, Reese told us.

Learning such responsibility should be considered an important part of every education, and we believe that UNT’s efforts to provide students with support and guidance to reinforce these lessons is a critical part of the process.

UNT allows students living in on-campus housing to keep and consume alcohol if they are 21 or older, in accordance with the legal drinking age. Students cannot consume alcohol in the presence of a minor, according to the policy.

Alcohol must be consumed in the resident’s room with the door closed, and no open containers may be carried through hallways, lounges, courtyards, community bathrooms, parking lots, balconies, stairways or other public areas at the residence halls, the policy states.

If UNT finds out alcohol was present at a Panhellenic event, it will investigate and act in accordance, Reese told us. It will be considered a violation of the student code of conduct.

While alcohol is an issue every university faces, UNT decided to take aggressive steps to ensure the safety of its students, Reese said.

“We don’t tolerate breaking the law,” she said.

We think all parents can appreciate UNT’s stance on this issue, but students should also be grateful that the university has taken such action.

While some may contend that the ban on alcohol consumption penalizes those who are of legal drinking age, we disagree.

In our view, those who are old enough to consume alcohol legally bear primary responsibility for making sure that the rules against underage drinking are enforced. That is part of being an adult.