UvA introduces alcohol policy

Big news. The University of Amsterdam will discourage alcohol consumption on campus during conferences, drinks and events. An action that is not welcomed with open arms by everyone. Because drinking alcohol is still the social norm among the highly educated.

The UvA's new alcohol policy was drawn up in response to the National Prevention Agreement. The National Prevention Agreement contains specific long-term objectives for improving public health. Educational institutions are expected to actively discourage alcohol use among pupils and students.

What does the UvA want?

Amsterdam University is committed to increasing awareness about alcohol use. With this, the UvA wants to shift its focus to 'a new social norm in which alcohol consumption is not self-evident':

UvA response: “A clear link has been shown for all kinds of cancer, from esophageal cancer to breast cancer in women, and that is independent of the known liver problems. In addition, alcohol also has a negative effect on our ability to think, which is of course at odds with what the UvA stands for as a knowledge institution. The effects of alcohol use on study and work results are reason enough to discourage alcohol use among students and staff.”

too patronizing

The title of the policy is: 'alcohol in an academic environment: pretty crazy actually'. And the first criticisms are not off the air. For example, the policy would be 'too patronizing'. Because, it is said, at some point the board of the UvA decides that it is strange to drink alcohol. Then you impose a standard on another and that is wrong. That is something that a person has to decide for themselves and not the board.

That is why an alcohol policy is needed at universities

According to research from 2018 by the Trimbos Institute, young adults as a group are most often a 'heavy drinker': at least six drinks in one day for men, four drinks for women. In addition, the highly educated drink much more (89.1%) than the less educated (67.5%). The alcohol problem among students is therefore large.

No alcohol ban, but more variety in alternatives

To be clear: the UvA is not advocating an alcohol ban. Alcohol will remain available in campus catering and during drinks, conferences and events, but caterers are simply obliged to provide 'a wide and attractive range of non-alcoholic drinks'. A covenant will also be concluded with student associations about 'alcohol and social safety' and 'students and staff will receive information about help to reduce drinking'. And therefore, judging by the Trimbos figures, an alcohol policy is absolutely necessary.








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