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UT Knoxville to Study Alcohol, Tobacco Use on Campus

Separate task forces this fall are going to review the University of Tennessee's alcohol and smoking policies on the Knoxville campus.

UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced the move Thursday.

Student leaders have asked for the last several years for a campuswide review of alcohol use, Davenport noted.

"This process will give us all an opportunity to collect broad-based input and to have informed conversations about this complicated and multifaceted matter," the chancellor wrote in a statement posted on her webpage. "The task force will prepare a report to summarize its work, make recommendations for policy changes, if any, and provide relevant information regarding the potential impacts of any recommended policy changes."

Alcohol use is widely prohibited on campus including in dorms and fraternities. Nevertheless, it goes on.

Senior Morgan Hartgrove serves as UT's Student Body President and believes this study is a step in the right direction.

"I think it legitimizes the fact that student voices are being heard. For a long time we've advocated for student voices to be heard and now we are,” said Hartgrove.

According to the student handbook, "University regulations prohibit all student organizations from serving or permitting the consumption, possession, or display of any alcoholic beverage or containers at any time, or by anyone on University premises.

Student organization officers are responsible for refusing admission to their social gathering of persons under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Student organizations sponsoring any social affair are responsible for its general decorum.”

Under UT's standards of conduct, students also can be disciplined for drinking, selling or being under the influence of alcohol on UT property or in relation to a UT-affiliated event.

“I think students would like to see a more relaxed alcohol policy and I think they would like to see a stricter smoking policy on campus,” said Hartgrove.

Drinking is allowed at specified functions involving alumni, donors, and "other special guests," according to UT's posted policy.

Settings where it's allowed under certain conditions include the McClung Museum, the fourth floor of Ayers Hall, the Baker Center and parts of Neyland Stadium.

The alcohol task force will be led by Vince Carilli, who is the vice chancellor for student life.

It will hold public meetings and take feedback. Members will include students, faculty members and community members, according to Davenport's announcement.

Separately, Chris Cimino, senior vice chancellor for finance and administration, will head a group that will review UT's policies on smoking. Lawmakers this year, encouraged by UT student leaders, authorized campuses to adopt tobacco policies.

Current UT policy on tobacco bans smoking in buildings "owned or operated" by the university.

Also, people aren't allowed to smoke within 25 feet of doorways, windows and ventilation systems of UT buildings, the policy states.

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