DURHAM, N.H. (AP) – University of New Hampshire officials are considering a plan to minimize abuse of alcohol by students that could include asking them to quit popular outdoor drinking games.

The plan also may establish training for faculty and staff to recognize the symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse.

Mark Rubinstein, the school’s vice president of academic and student affairs, said the university isn’t trying to create an atmosphere of abstinence, but wants an alcohol plan that serves students as well as the community.

The move was prompted by disturbances last year following several sporting events.

In October an estimated 2,500 people rushed the streets after the Red Sox lost a playoff game.

Seven people, including six students, were arrested. A similar incident the spring of 2003 led to 87 arrests.

In response, UNH President Ann Weaver Hart formed the Alcohol Planning Group in May to craft a strategy to respond to such high-risk alcohol use on campus.

Rubinstein said the new plan is a work in progress, but said the group has found that the university lacks a wide-ranging plan for dealing with high-risk alcohol and drug use.

It also found that the school has been inconsistent in dispensing punishment, help or a consistent message for students abusing alcohol or drugs, he said.

“We write a lot and we talk a lot about it,” Rubinstein said. “But there’s no clear statement of principle.”

Rubinstein said drinking games such as Beer Pong, in which players compete over a large table and try to throw a ball into beer-filled cups to make their opponents drink, make alcohol the center of social events.

University officials plan to take steps to discourage large parties and drinking on front lawns ofapartments and fraternity and sorority houses near campus.

Information from: The Union Leader, http://www.theunionleader.com

AP-ES-08-07-04 1543EDT

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