University of Colorado Students Need Alcohol Awareness Classes

by: Mike Miller

For a school that is best-known for being rated the number one party school by Playboy Magazine, the University of Colorado really needs to work on its image.  Hazing claimed the life of a pledge a few years ago and the school is not mandating that each of its incoming freshmen take an online alcohol awareness class.  The class is just a start.

It is a start that the University of Colorado Boulder holds students accountable for their actions both on and off campus.

Might Need Alcohol Awareness Classes

Boulder students cited for committing crimes, violating the student code of conduct or campus alcohol polices, can plead their cases in hearings before officials in the Office of Student Conduct, which has 12 employees.

If officials determine that an underage student possessed or drank alcohol, for example, they might be required to attend a class on the dangers of alcohol.

If students are guilty of repeated or more serious violations, they could suffer a variety of sanctions, from having to pay restitution if property is destroyed or people are harmed, to probation, suspension for one or two semesters, or even expulsion.

A student cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol for having a bottle of beer would not receive the same kind of punishment as a student who was passing around an open bottle of vodka to three other underage people (which is a serious alcohol violation).

As on many campuses, students are constantly exposed to messages that stress that alcohol and drug abuse are unhealthy and potentially dangerous.

That message was underscored when Michael Hoffman, a 21-year-old CU student, died on Aug. 26, after a night of partying. Toxicology reports are not complete, but officials suspect alcohol was a likely factor in Hoffman’s death.

In the last school year, CU officials reviewed 6,132 student infractions of the student conduct code. Of those, 2,500, or more than a third, involved alcohol, the university said.

CU dramatically increased its anti-­alcohol efforts following the 2004 death of student and fraternity pledge Gordy Bailey, who died of alcohol poisoning after fraternity brothers took him and other recruits into the mountains for a hazing ritual that involved drinking whiskey and wine.

Since 2007-08, the number of alcohol-related cases handled by the office of student conduct has dropped by 17 percent.  Nice to see the numbers dropping.