New College of Florida today announced the chair and responsibilities of its task force on alcohol and drug issues.

Katherine Walstrom, associate professor of biochemistry, will serve as chair of the task force. Walstrom is chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and has been a member of the New College faculty since 1999. Other members of the task force include faculty and staff members, a student, an alumna, a parent, and the College’s general counsel.

The task force will be examining New College’s policies on alcohol and drugs. Specifically, the task force will:

  • review and assess current practices, procedures and policies in the college regarding substances;
  • survey students about existing attitudes and culture;
  • examine incidents related to substance use and disease;
  • examine best practices at other institutions; and
  • recommend changes that would best promote wellness and safety among our own students.

The task force is to consult with campus groups, experts and others, and provide a set of recommendations and actionable items to the president, senior staff and student government by August 15. Its first meeting will be in June.

The task force’s appointment is in response to the deaths of two young men, one a student and the other a visitor, on campus in early May. Officials have not determined the cause of death in either case.

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