SU discusses alcohol policy in wake of Ithaca, Cornell deaths

The Tompkins County Sheriff's Office says the death of two college students in Ithaca appear to be alcohol-related. In the wake of the students' deaths, Syracuse University is taking a look at its alcohol policy.

Cornell University says 19-year-old sophomore George Desdunes of Brooklyn was found unconscious on a couch at his fraternity house Friday morning and was taken to the hospital, where he later died. The sheriff's office says an Ithaca College freshman, 17-year-old Victoria Chen of Spencer, was found dead in the snow behind a house near her college campus Saturday afternoon.

Both deaths remain under investigation, but Lansing says they appear to have been accidental.

One option under consideration by Syracuse University is a medical amnesty policy which would allow students to call for help in alcohol-related emergencies without any fear of punishment. More than 90 colleges across the country already have such a policy in place.

SU student Steve Andrews says the policy is a good idea. "You're not going to be able to stop it. Everybody does it. The key is to try and minimize the hazards and the risks," he says.

The university is also looking at ways to better educate students about the dangers of alcohol poisoning. Andrew Bissett says younger students at SU are often the ones most at risk from drinking.

"A lot of freshmen, they don't drink in high school, and they come in and drink way too much," he says.

Syracuse University has formed a task force to analyze its current policies on alcohol use. They hope to have the new program in place by the begining of next year.

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