Ups and Downs: Alcohol violations decrease, alcohol arrests increase

By Katie Zeck

Rider showed a significant decrease in alcohol violations on campus last year, reporting the fewest number of incidents since 2007, when a Rider student died in an alcohol-related incident.
According to the 2010 Security and Fire Safety Report, disciplinary actions for liquor law violations on the Lawrenceville campus decreased 36 percent, from 420 reported violations in 2009 to 269 in 2010. Westminster also saw a decrease in liquor law violations, from seven violations to two.
The number of arrests for liquor law violations at the Lawrenceville campus went up slightly, from 49 in 2009 to 57 in 2010. There were no alcohol related arrests in 2010 at the Westminster campus.
Arrests are defined as persons processed by arrest, citation or summons. Disciplinary actions/judicial referrals involve persons referred to campus officials for university disciplinary action, according to the campus safety report released late last month by Public Safety.
Vickie Weaver, director of Rider’s Public Safety, said the reduction of alcohol violations on both campuses is a credit to the university’s continued efforts to uphold strict guidelines in regards to the on-campus consumption of alcohol.
“Through these efforts we’ve heightened awareness across the institution about the dangers of underage and binge drinking in the hope of promoting healthier and more responsible decision-making among students,” she said. “This is an ongoing effort and a matter of shared responsibility throughout the good work of many through out the university and we continue to make progress in this regard.”
Dean of Students Anthony Campbell was pleased with the outcome of the report.

“The results reflect the work we have done across the university to educate students and parents about our alcohol policies and the adverse impact alcohol and drug abuse has on a student’s academic and career goals,” he said.
Sophomore Marcella Scalise believes differently, saying violations are most likely down because students are not drinking on campus as often.
“More people definitely are drinking off campus,” she said. “People don’t want to risk drinking in their rooms, so it’s just easier.”
Sophomore Radio & TV major Adam Brooks agrees.
“I feel like more students are being more careful about getting caught and not trying to drink in their rooms and instead [drink] more off campus,” he said.
Public Safety believes the numbers were attributed to Rider’s tiered alcohol policies.
“Rider’s 2010 results are a reflection of the rigorous policies we’ve implemented and enforced over the past several years and the continuing emphasis we place on education programs and increased vigilance across the university,” said Weaver.
By Oct. 1 of each year, universities and colleges nationwide must provide their campus community with this safety report. Policy statements regarding security measures, a description of the campus crime prevention programs and crime statistics for the past three years are included in the report.
In spring 2007, 18-year-old Gary DeVercelly Jr. died after a fraternity event in the PKT house where he accumulated a blood alcohol level of 0.426 percent. Following the tragedy, Rider rewrote the university’s alcohol policy, creating a tier system to punish students for certain types of offenses.
According to The Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis for Rowan University, a school of about 10,000 undergraduate students, there were 340 alcohol violations in 2010. In 2009, Rowan had 314 violations, and 2008 it had 361.
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), which has an undergraduate student body size of about 6,000, had 347 alcohol violations in 2010, 343 in 2009 and 494 in 2008.
Drug law violations were also cited in each of the schools’ reports. Rider documented seven violations in 2008 and 2009, and four in 2010.
Rowan reported 33 violations in 2008, 44 in 2009 and 52 in 2010. TCNJ did not have any drug violations for 2008 and 2009, but reported 11 in 2010.
Rider’s current report showed two sex offesnses on the Lawrenceville campus in 2010.  There were none in 2009
Westminster reported one on-campus forcible sex offense in 2010 and none in 2009.
In response to this small increase, Weaver said that Public Safety works diligently with other groups on campus to ensure that students feel safe and are educated about how to make the safest decisions possible.
“This is a matter of shared responsibility between Public Safety, student affairs, residence life and Greek life to continue to be vigilant in enforcing our student social code of conduct on both campuses,” she said. “In addition, we offer a variety of education programs and services that encourage students to make informed responsible and healthy decisions and to encourage them to come forward when they are victims of sexual assault.”
However, some students found the two sexual offenses disturbing.
“Even though it was a small increase, it still is definitely not something reassuring to hear,” said sophomore Tiffany Morales.
Rowan had one forcible sexual offense in 2010, none in 2009 and three in 2008. TCNJ reported no sexual offenses in 2008 and 2009, and two in 2010.
Burglaries on all three college campuses were also documented. Rider had 11 on-campus burglaries in 2008, 21 in 2009 and  22 in 2010.
Rowan had 24 burglaries in 2008, 11 in 2009 and 12 in 2010.
TCNJ had 34 burglaries in 2008, six in 2009 and two in 2010.
The federal law that mandates these detailed reports is called the Clery Act. Named after Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered while asleep in her residence hall room on April 5, 1986, the law requires that colleges and universities disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.

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