A new study says that, unlike most colleges across the country, this University does not have as much to worry about in regard to the nation”s large increase in drug and alcohol related arrests.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently released an analysis of the U.S. Education Department”s study on campus crime which found that drug arrests at the nation”s colleges increased 10.2 percent in 2000.
Michigan State University, which led the country”s universities for the most alcohol-related arrests in 2000 at 856, was also second in the most drug-related arrests.
Michigan State senior Honey Minkowitz, a resident adviser, defends the numbers by saying that they don”t necessarily mean the institution has a bigger underage problem than other campuses.
“I”ve only documented one person in the last two semesters for an alcohol-related incident,” she said.
The University of Michigan”s 355 arrests represented a downward trend, but the decrease in arrests does not mean alcohol and drug use among students has gone down, said Diane Brown, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman.
While the study”s figures are meant to represent the number of alcohol and drug-related arrests that occur on campus and involve the school”s students, many violators do not actually attend the University.
“Our campus is very open, and we have a lot of visitors who don”t understand our policies. For example, only one out of the 150 arrests in the last three years at Hash Bash and only 35 percent of the alcohol-related arrests in “99 were students,” Brown said.
Another reason the lower numbers don”t necessarily reflect a decrease in student drinking is that the bulk of the year”s arrests take place at Michigan Stadium.
“In 1999, a significant percentage, 45 percent, of our alcohol violations were connected to football games. In 2000, the number fell to only 31 percent of total alcohol related arrests,” she said.
This decrease in reported liquor violations at football games can be attributed to several external factors, including the number of home games and the weather.
In 2000, the University”s football team played three games in September and only one game in November.
“When it gets colder, people wear more clothes and can get away with hiding more alcohol. In 2000 we only had one game in November, unlike the three in “99. That was also the year we played Ohio State, and at that game alone we had 74 alcohol violations,” Brown said.
Not everyone found the numbers misleading. LSA junior Henna Tirmizi thought the study”s results proved promising.
“Maybe people are drinking less, or at least more responsibly. Who knows, it”s a start at least,” she said.