Tragic Death Highlights the Problem of Underage Drinking

Ortiz Outraged by Student Death, Calls for Action
March 5, 2009
(New York, NY) –Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (Brooklyn-51 AD), has expressed deep concern over the recent tragic death of SUNY Geneseo student Arman Partamian. This 19 year old sophomore was found dead Sunday morning after attending an off-campus fraternity party.

In light of this disturbing incident, Assemblyman Ortiz is proposing legislation that would mandate that students sign a pledge stating that they will not engage in underage drinking while attending school. Students who engage in underage drinking either on or off campus will be subject to penalties that range from permanent entry in their transcript, reduction in financial aid and/or expulsion from school. Additionally, colleges and universities will also be held accountable for the students’ actions and may be at risk for reduction in state funding. “Steps must be taken to send the message loud and clear that underage drinking will not be tolerated,” said Ortiz

As Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Ortiz sees this event as a cause for action. “We know that underage drinking is a problem in this state, we have seen it firsthand. We cannot allow this type of situation to continue and allow our young people to be put at risk. We have a responsibility to protect vulnerable populations and hold individuals and institutions accountable for violating state regulations,” said Ortiz.

The issue of underage drinking is a main concern of Assemblyman Ortiz. He currently sits on the New York State Advisory Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption. This council was created under Chapter 168 of the Laws of 2006. Housed within the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the council consists of 21 members from all over the state. The purpose of the council is to study and evaluate the issue and provide recommendations to decision-makers in order to implement effective policies to curb the epidemic of underage drinking in New York State.