Ball State Recognizes Need for Alcohol and Drug Awareness Class

by: Mike Miller

Drinking and experimenting with drugs are common in colleges and universities throughout the world. College is after all about education first and foremost. For many college students it is their first opportunity at freedom and independence, both in actions and the choices they make. That’s why educating them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is so important.

Despite the best efforts of Ball State (alma mater of David Letterman and located in Muncie, Indiana) campus organizations and the University Police Department, students continue to find alternative — and sometimes illegal — ways to pass time.

The annual Campus Crime Report shows an increase in on-campus arrests for drug abuse and alcohol violations, something the university has been trying to curb with free activities like Late Nite and athletic events.

Arrests on charges of liquor law violations increased in the past year. Ninety-five arrests were made in 2010. There were 77 arrests in 2009 and 128 in 2008.

While arrests were up, the number of disciplinary referrals decreased. These are citations that do not result in arrest. About 400 referrals were documented on campus and in on-campus housing. That means about 2 percent of the student population has received a referral.

A decrease of more than 100 off-campus citations seems to suggest that students are drinking more in the residence halls than they do off campus

Jerry McKean, associate professor of criminal justice and criminology, said UPD's efforts contribute to overall campus safety in a big way.

It doesn't mean students shouldn't have fun, but maintaining order in the residence halls is important because it's so many people in one space.

Alternative weekend fun

McKean said he's not sure if alternative programs like Late Nite and UPB events help curb drug and alcohol abuse. But he supports their missions nonetheless.

Kay Bales, vice president of Student Affairs, said it's these programs that provide an environment that encourages good choices.

"We take safety very seriously on this campus and work hard to educate students and help them make decisions that help protect their interests and well-being," she said in an email. "We're making progress, even as we realize the ongoing value of the programs we have in place."