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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 2, Fall 2000

Rick Momeyer
Pages 147-151

Heavy Drinking on Campus and University Paternalism

Both for reasons of their own and because of congressionally mandated changes in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, many colleges and universities have changed the way they deal with alcohol abuse by their students. One of these changes has been to adopt a policy of “Parental Notification” according to which parents of an underaged student found guilty of consuming alcohol are notified after a first offense. I argue that this is a paternalistic policy in need of justification, and that justifying it is made the more difficult because of barriers to its being successfully pursued. Nonetheless, I suggest that such a policy, if a weak paternalistic one, can be morally justified.