President's Message on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Every year, young people die as the result of alcohol and other drug abuse in campus communities. The freedom and independence of college life means students are making their own choices, often for the first time. Sadly for some, the first time is the last time! Don't let your life become a sad statistic.
One of Winthrop University's top priorities is to maintain a safe and supportive environment for its entire community of learners.
The harsh realities of recent alcohol-related deaths of students are a vivid reminder that we can never overlook the threat that alcohol and drug abuse pose to such campus communities. These are tragedies of the first order, tragedies that took the lives of young people standing on the brink of adulthood. But worse, much worse than that, is the fact that they didn't have to happen.
- Micah Villarreal, 24, and Kelly Young, 24, Colorado State University, died July 9, 2005.
- Christopher Raspanti, 21, Pennsylvania State University, was found April 24, 2005.
- Jason Reinhardt, 21, Minnesota State University, was found March 16, 2004.
- Samantha Spady, 19, Colorado State University, was found Sept. 5, 2004.
- Rachel Payne, 18, University of Delaware, was found Sept. 12, 2004.
- Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr., 18, University of Colorado, was found Sept. 17, 2004.
- Jason Bannick, 19, Fort Lewis College, died October 24, 2004
While we have been free of such tragedies at Winthrop, incidents like these leave those of us who put our hearts and souls into the task of helping students learn and grow feeling absolutely frustrated, angry, and powerless. For a university administrator, there is no more painful a duty to do than to tell parents their son or daughter has died in an accident. It's not the kind of responsibility one imagines ever having to take on. And it's not a role that one can prepare for. For a student leader, it can be equally devastating -- the loss of a peer, perhaps even a friend.
Many students feel as though the administration, in particular, is unaware of student activities involving alcohol. What administrators [and student leaders alike] do know is that academic failures -- and much worse -- are directly related to excessive or “binge” drinking. We know students tend to suffer silently rather than confront the misbehavior and risk being labeled as “not cool.” And 'bingers' often feel the purpose of drinking is just to get drunk -- to be rowdy and obnoxious; to get physically ill; to provide an excuse to have casual sex -- often with no regard for the impact this behavior has on themselves or others.
As a student, you may not realize that you are a victim of alcohol abuse if you have ever had your studying interrupted, felt unsafe when others are drinking, had personal property vandalized, or had your enjoyment of other activities compromised by someone else's alcohol abuse.
Please understand the purpose in writing this letter. We at Winthrop are in a position to help you reach your dreams -- not to listen to your parents and friends grieve your untimely death.
I challenge you to make the CHOICE not to abuse alcohol and join Winthrop in making our campus free from alcohol abuse. Let's work together to make certain that a tragedy like those that have hit other campuses never occurs on ours.
Problems Faced by College Alcohol Abusers:
Collected data continues to indicate that students who drink are:
- Less likely to complete their academic course of study.
- More likely to become involved in:
- disorderly conduct - becoming disruptive in class, the library, or in the residence halls;
- conduct dangerous to others - fights, vandalism, and verbal abuse; and
- health issues - sexually transmitted diseases, depression, kidney complications, cirrhosis of the liver, and unplanned pregnancies.
What You Can Do:
- Keep yourself informed. Know the rules about drinking on campus and understand that we will enforce those rules.
- Promise to spend an evening socializing without drinking, while observing those who are drinking to excess. Note their behavior and try to image what you look like when you overindulge.
- If you drink, resolve to do so legally and only in moderation. Do this primarily for your own well - being but also for your classmates.
- If you are being compromised by someone else's drinking, speak up. Work with your R.A. and others in our campus community, especially in the Division of Student Life, to change the situation.
- Help spread the word to other students about the following resources available to them on campus regarding alcohol:
- Wellness Services in the Department of Health and Counseling Services.
- Students Have A Responsibility to Educate (SHARE) Team, which uses the power of peer influence to educate students through programming both on and off campus.
- Upcoming Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA) and Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students (BACCHUS) chapters, peer education programs focusing on alcohol abuse prevention and other related student health and safety issues.
- Your residence life staff and professionals in the Division of Student Life who exist to help you or refer you to those who can.
- Red Flag 3 and simulated drunk driving courses offered by Campus Police.
- ACAD 101 course curriculum detailing alcohol and other drugs education.
- Physical and Health Education classes with part of the course curriculum focusing on alcohol and other drugs related education.
- Residence hall programs offered by Residence Life staff, other Division of Student Life staff and community agencies based on alcohol and other drugs related education.
- Campus wide programs presented by nationally recognized alcohol and other drugs speakers.
- Sexual Assault Awareness Week events.
- Residence halls bulletin boards based on alcohol and other drugs related educational information.
- The Residence Life Resource Guide
- The Student Handbook Alcoholic Beverage Policy
- Alcohol, Choices and Education, by Outside The Classroom, is an extracurricular course taken by students in violation of Winthrop University’s alcohol policies.
- The Drug Education program, led by the Wellness Services Coordinator, is an extracurricular course taken by students in violation of Winthrop University’s drug policies.
- CHAMPS/Life Skills Program offered to student athletes.
For more information, contact the Division of Student Life, 323-2251.