BACCHUS sends letters

By Stephanie Bradley

Some NIU organizations and local DeKalb liquor vendors have recently received a letter stating they were in violation of the alcohol marketing guidelines outlined by BACCHUS, a national alcohol awareness student group.

NIU BACCHUS President Carolyn Nowak said she has noticed fewer alcohol-related advertisements since the guidelines were introduced.

Nowak said some of the guidelines include alcohol use in the Holmes Student Center. Nowak said alcohol is banned at undergraduate activities, and it is difficult to obtain permission even for faculty events.

No names of alcoholic beverage companies or breweries may be posted on fliers, Nowak said. She also said if a fraternity wants to have a party, it must issue tickets to those wishing to attend the party. She said fraternities must notify and register the party 24 hours in advance with University Programming and Activities.

Michael Haines, NIU Health Enhancement Services coordinator, said the “guidelines were endorsed by virtually every major college organization” at NIU. He said the guidelines are meant to deter people from promoting alcohol abuse.

Haines said the guidelines are also used to show that alcohol or drinking does not heighten sex appeal or sports ability. The guidelines are also intended to reduce sexism, he said.

Haines said anyone who sees an ad which might seem to violate the guidelines should talk to Jon Dalton, vice president for student affairs. Dalton then will send a letter to the offending group with a copy of the guidelines inserted, he said.

Dalton said organizations or bars advertising drink specials or drinking contests are organizations which receive letters. Chugging contests, bottomless cups and two-for-one drinks are examples of this, he said.

Haines said a copy of the letter will also be sent to DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow, who also acts as the DeKalb liquor commissioner.

Haines said BACCHUS does not believe drinking is bad, but wants people to be responsible when they drink.

Dalton said he has to be careful not to respond to every potentially offensive ad because “alcohol is popular among students.” He said the letters are mainly being targeted toward ads that promote overconsumption of alcohol.

Dalton said since the guidelines were introduced in the fall, organizations which received letters have been very cooperative. He said many of the organizations cited for violations were not aware they were violating the guidelines.

However, Dalton said he has not gotten much response from alcohol vendors, although he has noticed a reduction in offensive ads.

“There’s a growing awareness that alcohol is a dangerous drug that needs to be dealt with in a serious way,” Dalton said. He said fraternities eliminating open parties is an example of some of these changes. He said injuries have been reduced since the guidelines were introduced.