- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

The University of Kentucky will loosen its longstanding alcohol ban to allow legal drinking at some places on the Lexington campus, school President Eli Capilouto announced Thursday.

In another policy shift, the state’s flagship school said it will extend its code of student conduct to apply to student behavior at places off campus.

The changes, coming after a lengthy review, are expected to take effect in the upcoming fall semester, the school said.

UK said it will revise the campus alcohol policy to allow some legal drinking under guidelines and conditions that weren’t specified. The school didn’t immediately say where alcohol would be permitted. A committee will review those issues, said UK spokesman Jay Blanton.

“We recognize that our current policy has not limited drinking by students,” he said. “It has only served to change where they drink. … We believe that a better approach to student well-being, health and safety, and to our neighbors, is to create a safe, legal and responsible environment for our students.”

UK has banned alcohol on campus since 1998, with a couple of exceptions where alumni and faculty gather.

The alcohol ban has been blamed by some for shifting student parties to surrounding neighborhoods off campus.

Capilouto started hearing concerns from some of UK’s neighbors as soon as he arrived on campus in the summer of 2011.

School officials will have plenty of issues to work through, including whether to allow alcohol in student housing where there are students above and below the legal drinking age, and in buildings that include classrooms and dining facilities where receptions are held, Blanton said.

Meanwhile, the school will expand its code of student conduct beyond campus boundaries.

Capilouto said the intent is to strengthen the university’s relationship with campus neighbors and the broader community.

“This report … is another important step in building an enduring, mutually beneficial relationship of trust and candor,” he said.

Just how far-reaching the code will apply still has to be determined, Blanton said.

“It’s one thing if a student is arrested and convicted of DUI in Lexington,” he said. “But what happens if a student is studying abroad in Africa or is on spring break in Florida or is at home for holiday break and has a legal issue? Does the student code apply then?

“We’re going to have to work through some of those issues over the next few months,” he added.

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