Fall quarter, 114 Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) citations were issued, up by nearly double from last year, according to a report from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). In contrast, alcohol-related medical emergencies during New Student Orientation (NSO) declined compared to last year.
DPS issued 62 MIP citations last fall quarter and 81 the year before last.
“The increase in citations in 2009 to date can be partially attributed to increased staffing during nights when parties are held, [when] alcohol violations and other incidents such as burglaries, thefts and assaults are more likely to occur,” DPS spokesman Bill Larson wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.
Upperclassmen were issued the majority of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Drunk in Public tickets. The vast majority of MIP tickets were issued on the Row.
According to Ralph Castro, associate dean of substance abuse prevention at Vaden Health Center, the relative number of freshmen transported to emergency rooms for alcohol poisoning declined to 40 percent of all students transported to the ER for alcohol-related reasons. In previous years, they were the majority.
Castro believes the later fall move-in date for Row houses and revised University party-planning guidelines, both of which went into effect this summer, were instrumental in the decline of early-quarter emergency room transports. He sees the later move-in date as a “protective factor” that gives upperclassmen less idle time before classes start.
With those policies in place, Castro doesn’t see the need for additional changes in the near future.
“At this time, I believe that the policies we have in place are working,” Castro wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “We have a solid social contract with students. The University assumes that students will make responsible and healthy decisions, and this assumption guides all of our policy decisions.”
In Castro’s opinion, the primary cause of unhealthy decisions is students’ poor ability to distinguish between the alcohol contents of different drinks, resulting in excessive consumption of hard liquor.
“Some students think they can drink hard liquor in volume quantities similar to beer, and this leads to troubling outcomes,” Castro said. “We continue to stress the dangers of hard liquor in our education efforts.”
When students are ticketed for alcohol violations, they are required to enter the Alcohol Education Seminar at Vaden’s Substance Abuse Prevention Program. Castro says the program has been successful since the rate of repeat offense is only four percent.
As alcohol education has become more pervasive, high-risk drinking has declined across campus, especially among freshmen. Castro indicated that while AlcoholEdu, the online alcohol education seminar required for freshmen, cannot be correlated to declining alcohol-related incidents at Stanford, there has been a marked decrease in high-risk drinking since the program was introduced four years ago.
“We continue to enforce the prohibition against Minors in Possession of alcohol,” Larson said. “Also, our sworn personnel work closely with our colleagues at Student Affairs to promote alcohol awareness and education.”
There were no violent crimes committed on campus this quarter where alcohol was implicated as a contributing factor.