|Alcohol still danger on campuses|
|Written by Elizabeth Brei, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 19 October 2011 16:52|
A conference was held at Lehigh University last week to discuss the effects of alcohol on college students, according to the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Patch.
The university has taken action to reduce the amount of crime related to alcohol around campus, the Patch stated. They have partnered with sororities and fraternities to focus more on the values of their charters and have distributed lists of students’ birthdays to various taverns, restaurants and liquor stores so they can check them against students’ IDs.
When asked if similar means could be used to reduce underage drinking on ISU’s campus, Aaron Woodruff, police chief for ISUPD, said this would be difficult to enforce.
“You’re talking over 20,000 students, about half of which are probably under 21, so 10,000 names would probably be a little hard for every gas station and restaurant in the area to catch,” he explained. “Additionally, I think there could be some privacy concerns.”
“Community Rights and Responsibilities typically receives over 1,000 disciplinary referrals for alcohol violations every year,” he said. “Alcohol is one of the biggest contributors to crime on campus. A student who made the decision to damage something at 2 in the morning probably wouldn’t have made that same decision at 2 in the afternoon. It’s hard to put an exact number on all alcohol-related reports.”
Lehigh University has found freshmen commit a large number of alcohol related crimes, due to their new-found freedom from their parents.
“It usually starts out in the early part of the school year,” he said. “In the fall semester, we have a higher number of them than in the spring because students are adjusting to the freedoms they have here that they don’t have at home. They tend to make a few more mistakes earlier in their academic career than when they’re older.”
Woodruff said there are measures taken to educate students on the use of alcohol, as well as to enforce the laws that are in place concerning it.
“We do our best to educate the students from the very first day at Preview when we talk about these issues, and, throughout the school year, we get requests from residence halls that provide alcohol-related education programming,” he said. “Obviously, that can’t be the only thing. It doesn’t work as a sole deterrent. Our officers take an aggressive stance on consumption.”
Jim Almeda, coordinator of Health Promotion and Wellness, said there are a number of educational opportunities on campus for students. For example, all first year students are required to take an online course called Alcohol Wise.
“They are given information about this during Preview and then receive some follow up information about it,” Almeda said. “This hopefully will help them start thinking about making responsible choices about alcohol once they start coming to school at Illinois State University.”
ISU has its own requirements for students who violate the code of conduct concerning alcohol, as well.
“They are required to take two other online alcohol education courses called e-CHUG and Under the Influence,” he said. “They also have to attend a small group alcohol education class.”
However, much of Health Promotion and Wellness’s focus is on education, Almeda said.
“Learning about a variety of choices you can make reduces your risk for alcohol-related problems.”