The University of Oregon ranks 24th of 7,000 U.S. schools with the most on-campus drug busts and 49th for most alcohol violations, according to a 2013 analysis by Rehab.com.
The report was analyzed with the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education for all colleges with at least 5,000 students that received federal financial aid.
More than 300 cases of alcohol and drugs violations on campus were added to the UOPD crime log in November 2014, which reflected most of fall term.
UO Housing Director Michael Griffel says the Rehab report doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of the actual violations, but only those documented under the Clery Act.
Griffel said that violations like these are on the rise.
“We don’t know why the number is increasing,” he said. “But this is a trend we see in different schools in Oregon and around the nation.”
According to AlcoholEdu, a mandatory annual survey conducted by the Office of the Dean of students and adopted by the university in 2011, 30 percent of freshmen who took the survey in 2013 consider themselves high risk drinkers. That equals more than 960 freshmen who reported consuming four drinks or more on at least one occasion in the two weeks prior to the survey.
Of those freshmen, 7 percent were listed as “problematic cases.” These are the incidents where students suffer academic failure due to the use of drugs or alcohol, Griffel said. These cases also directly impacted other residents because of their noisy and disturbing nature.
Art major Lalita Thardomrong said alcoholic activity is a hot topic in her residence hall.
“I can always hear people discussing or getting ready to go to party,” she said. “It’s either at a frat house or they get somebody to get alcohol for them, but it’s hard to get caught.”
When a student is caught illegally consuming alcohol or drug on campus, UO Housing staff meets with the student to have a educational conversation, then later decides the consequences.
“We try to listen to the students and understand them,” Griffel said. “The whole point is to learn and to grow, not to make mistakes and put themselves into situations that could take away their success.”
According to the AlcoholEdu survey, 59 percent of freshmen who participated in the survey said they drink “to have a good time with friends” and 32 percent of them drink “to feel connected with people.”
Pre-business administration major Hayato Goto witnesses underage alcoholic meet-ups in his dorm now and then, but doesn’t mind.
“The fact that I don’t drink in my dorm is because I don’t want to drink alone,” Goto said. “But I will with friends.”
Thardomrong said she saw many freshmen pressured to consume more alcohol than they were willing to.
“(They) think that alcohol is the medium that links them to meet and connect with people,” she said. “I know somebody that feels like he has to drink all the time, otherwise he won’t feel in the right mind.”
Though UO provides educational programs and events to give residents something to do other than drink — AlcoholEdu and Ducks After Dark are examples of such initiatives — students say the effort isn’t always effective.
“We are college students,” Goto said. “That’s what we do. There is nothing the school could really do.”
Follow Tran Nguyen on Twitter: @trnngngn