Machen plans summit to deal with underage drinking issue


Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 10:25 p.m.
University of Florida President Bernie Machen told the Student Senate during his first month on campus he planned to take a tough stance on underage drinking.
Last year, some UF football players got into a brawl at a party over the summer. A freshman, who had been drinking, died after she crashed her vehicle and was subsequently struck by another. Also, several fraternities have been cited for serving alcohol to minors.
Machen's now speaking out. He's gathering government, business, educational and community leaders for a summit on Wednesday to brainstorm ways to deal with the No. 1 health issue on college campuses.
"We believe what is needed is a multi-pronged approach to effectively reduce alcohol abuse and underage drinking in our community," Machen wrote in a letter to area leaders.
The group may consider ways to consistently enforce policies and laws, create more educational programs and find more money to help curb underage drinking and alcohol abuse.
The meeting is scheduled for the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce beginning at 9:30 a.m.
  • SHOE TRADE-OFF: At any given time during the day, third-grade teacher Bonnie Bing will have sneakers and sandals on her desk.
    The shoes are what the Alachua Elementary teacher calls "collateral" from her students.
    If a third-grader wants to borrow a pencil from Bing, she politely asks them to remove one of their shoes and place it on her desk.
    Teachers often say students borrow pens and pencils without ever returning them.
    Bing said that was the case this year in her class as well - until she added the new collateral system.
    Bing says the method always persuades students to return what they've borrowed.
    "They can't leave the room without their shoes," she said.
    Bing, a first-year teacher, said she learned the novel practice from a mentor teacher.
  • CAMPAIGNERS REPRIORITIZE: Some University of Florida student Republicans - many of whom sacrificed countless hours to President Bush's re-election campaign - won't be skipping classes for his swearing-in ceremony on Thursday.
    Jane Muir, president of the Young Republicans, was among a handful of UF students who volunteered at the Republican National Convention in New York City last fall and was a fixture in the local campaign.
    Muir said she expects to watch the inauguration on television.
    "I'd like to get a little more balance back in my life," said Muir, a junior studying art history and political science.
    And Travis Horn, a UF law student who chaired the local Republican Executive Committee until November, is hitting the books again.
    "I'm definitely focusing in on law school this semester," he said.
  • USED TEXTBOOKS: Outdated and surplus books are available for free Wednesday and Thursday at the Alachua County school district's warehousing complex, The Sivia Center, 3700 NE 53rd St.
    The used elementary mathematics textbooks will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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