By Emily Landgraf
Rider, Monmouth and Rowan are three universities that have a few things in common: They’re all located in New Jersey, they’re all mid-sized schools and they all have their fair share of alcohol violations.
Although Rider is half the size of Rowan and has roughly 1,000 fewer students than Monmouth, it still has just as many, if not more, alcohol violations. Administrators believe that Rider’s tighter alcohol policy is the reason.
“The results show a consistent level for reported alcohol violations,” Dean of Students Anthony Campbell said. “That can be an indicator that the alcohol policy is working. The report can also demonstrate that Rider and Westminster have been very safe campuses for the past couple of years.”
The figures for Rider’s two campuses can be found in the Campus Security and Fire Safety Report for 2008, a document that was e-mailed to every member of the Rider community at the end of September. By law, all college campuses are required to record these statistics and make them accessible to all those on campus.
“Our most recent annual security and fire safety report is in compliance with the Clery Act and provides valuable information concerning security and fire safety, including statistics for the most recent three-year period,” said Director of Rider’s Department of Public Safety Vickie Weaver.
The statistics for the on-campus disciplinary actions in relation to alcohol are striking. These are alcohol violations in which disciplinary action is taken by campus authorities, as opposed to the police.
The number of on-campus alcohol violations where disciplinary action was involved on the Westminster campus seems tame when compared to the Lawrenceville campus, Monmouth and Rowan. The Westminster campus had 43 in 2006, 19 in 2007 and nine in 2008. In comparison, the Lawrenceville campus, with a much larger resident population, had 285 in 2006, 335 in 2007 and 348 in 2008.
“We are pleased by these results,” Weaver said. “They are a reflection of the rigorous alcohol policies we’ve instituted over the past two years, which include significant educational programs and increased vigilance and enforcement efforts across the university.”
Rowan’s numbers of alcohol violations on-campus are also sizeable. The number of violations that involved disciplinary action on campus was 314 in 2005, 280 in 2006 and 309 in 2007 (figures for 2008 are not yet available). Monmouth’s numbers are smaller, but still substantial: 153 violations in 2006, 164 in 2007 and 135 in 2008. These campuses also have a good deal of on-campus alcohol arrests each year, with the exception of Westminster, which has not had any in the past three years. In comparison, Lawrenceville has had its fair share with 42 in 2006, 100 in 2007 and 61 in 2008.
Monmouth also had numerous on-campus alcohol arrests, with 65 in 2006, 98 in 2007 and 94 in 2008. Rowan had the lowest number of on-campus alcohol arrests of the three larger campuses with 13 in 2005, 25 in 2006 and 15 in 2007.
Alcohol is not the only substance giving area universities trouble. On-campus drug violations are also commonplace.
Rowan seems to have its hands full when it comes to disciplinary actions involving drugs on campus. There were 41 violations in 2005, 62 in 2006 and 29 in 2007. Monmouth’s numbers are substantially smaller with six violations in 2006, 14 in 2007 and 14 in 2008.
Rider’s numbers on both campuses in this category are also considerably smaller than Rowan’s numbers. On the Lawrenceville campus, there were seven violations in 2006, 13 in 2007 and seven in 2008. In comparison, there were no violations on the Westminster campus from 2006-2008.
There have also been drug arrests on all of these campuses. The Lawrenceville campus seems to be experiencing a downward trend in these arrests with 16 in 2006, 14 in 2007 and 13 in 2008. In comparison, Monmouth seems to be experiencing an upward trend in these types of arrests with eight in 2006, 14 in 2007 and 17 in 2008. Rowan also appears to be experiencing an upward trend with 10 drug arrests in 2005, 18 in 2006 and 21 in 2007. Westminster’s campus has the fewest number of drug arrests with one in the past three years.
On-campus illegal weapons possession has also been an issue, though the incidents have not occurred in large numbers. There have been no disciplinary actions or arrests for illegal weapons possession at the Westminster campus for the past three years. On the Lawrenceville campus, there have been disciplinary actions with one in 2006, two in 2007 and one in 2008. There were two weapons arrests in 2006, one in 2007 and none in 2008.
Rowan has not had any cases from 2005-2007 in which disciplinary actions were taken because of illegal weapons. However, there was one weapons arrest in 2005 and there were three in 2006.
Other issues that are a problem at all of these campuses are forcible sex offenses (i.e. harassment, rape), aggravated assault and burglary.
On the Lawrenceville campus, few on-campus forcible sex offenses are reported. Two were reported in 2006, six in 2007 and two in 2008. This can also be said about the Westminster campus, where only four were reported in 2006 and two were reported in 2007. No forcible sex offenses were reported last year at Westminster.
Rowan also seems to be experiencing a downward trend with six reported forcible sex offenses in 2005, two in 2006 and one in 2007. Monmouth has not had many reports of forcible sex offenses, either, with five in 2006, two in 2007 and 5 in 2008.
On-campus aggravated assault is another issue that is not widely reported on any of the campuses. Westminster has not had any reports of aggravated assault in the past three years. Lawrenceville had one report in 2006, three in 2007 and three in 2008. Rowan had no reports of aggravated assault in 2005 or 2006 but three in 2007. Monmouth had no reports of aggravated assault in 2006 and one report in both 2007 and 2008.
On-campus burglary is probably the most widespread issue, other than alcohol and drugs, at all of the campuses. Westminster has the lowest number of reported burglaries, with three in 2006, four in 2007 and three in 2008. Lawrenceville’s rate of reported burglaries dropped significantly from 28 in 2006 and 30 in 2007 to only 11 in 2008.
Rowan’s on-campus burglary rate rose and then dropped in the three years recorded with 13 reported in 2005, 21 reported in 2006 and 15 reported in 2007. Monmouth’s on-campus burglary rate, in comparison, dropped and then rose with 14 reported in 2006, eight reported in 2007 and 13 in 2008.
All in all, Weaver believes that Rider’s Public Safety has done a good job of protecting and educating the community.
“Safety is everyone’s business and requires a strong and effective partnership among many throughout the institution, and we are pleased to be an important part of this effort,” she said.
Security statistics can be attained for any college or university in the United States at securityoncampus.org.