Presidential sobriety check

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MEDFORD — It was a crisp Saturday last fall. Tufts University’s football team had just beaten Bowdoin College in a nail-biter. Proud from the homecoming victory, Tufts president Lawrence Bacow walked toward his house with the president of Bowdoin, showing off the hilltop campus along the way.

But as they arrived at Bacow’s red brick Georgian-style home that October day, they came upon an alarming scene: A firetruck, ambulance, and university police car were parked in front, and a young man, clearly intoxicated, lay sprawled on the grass. Bacow turned to his colleague in disbelief.

“There’s a student passed out on my lawn,’’ Bacow recounted. “At 3:30 in the afternoon!’’

Just one month into the school year, the student became the 16th Tufts undergraduate to be taken to the hospital for excessive drinking. By June, 60 students would be hospitalized.

The homecoming incident inspired Bacow to embark on an uncommon personal quest to combat what he says is a pervasive binge drinking culture on campus. From that day, Tufts students treated for alcohol-related problems have received a terse e-mail from him: “I’d like to meet with you for a few minutes. Please contact my assistant.’’

Full story: Presidential sobriety check – The Boston Globe