Drug, Sexual Assault and Aggravated Assault Violations Increase at UA
Drug violations increased at the UA in 2011, but liquor violations declined, according to the Clery Report, the annual federally mandated account of campus crime.
UAPD released the report, which is drawn from data gathered by campus security policy, campus crime statistics report and the annual fire safety report.
The report provides information about calendar years 2009, 2010 and 2011, UAPD spokesman Lt. Gary Crain said. The report contains data from previous years for comparison purposes.
Drug law violations have increased in residence halls on campus, Crain said. These offenses are detected by housing staff and reported to the judicial board through a specific chain of command.
The rise in drug violations could be attributed to a better-trained housing staff, allowing them to efficiently detect drug use in residence halls, Crain said.
“It could be, in fact, more people were doing it, committing that offense and got caught, and so the number of reports went up on that,” Crain said.
The repercussions for drug violation arrests can be devastating, Crain said. A student has to endure an extensive legal process after being arrested, which often includes going to jail, posting bond, attending court and being arraigned, he said. A student also must endure university sanctions if a violation happened on campus, Crain said. That could mean getting kicked out of the residence hall, or even out of school for the offense.
“It’s a serious offense,” Crain said. “Not to mention some occupations — a person may be in a program studying because they want to do a certain job — some of those jobs they won’t be able to do because of that drug arrest and conviction.”
Any type of arrest is damaging, Crain said, but students need to understand the rules.
“There’s a no-tolerance policy,” Crain said. “Sometimes people just don’t avail themselves to the information that’s out there, and then they get caught and caught up in that, and then it’s a little late.”
While drug violations in residence halls rose last year, alcohol violations decreased, according to the Clery Report.
A group on campus specializes in bystander intervention in difficult situations involving alcohol and drug abuse.
Step Up informs students about how to intervene when a peer might be in trouble, said Mary Alice Serafini, Pat Walker Health Center director.
“It also works on the prevention side of not getting in those situations — how to help a friend not get in a situation where they might be at risk for overuse of alcohol, for making a terrible decision because of alcohol or drugs, for exposing themselves to, perhaps, a situation where they might be harmed physically,” Serafini said.
A new group, the Substance Education and Alcohol Resource program, involves peer educators who speak on campus about reducing alcohol and substance abuse, Serafini said.
Debbie Morgan, the coordinator of substance abuse prevention, initiated SEAR. During a meeting, SEAR members discussed how to get their message across to students.
“Some things that stick with me whenever I think about alcohol abuse is the scary side of it that we don’t give mind to,” said Sam Atkinson, junior accounting student. “You get a DUI and your professional career is in jeopardy. It’s scary to think that you’re coming to college when you’re 19 and you get out when you’re 22, then you’re out in the real world. You have four years where you can either make or break your life, and a DUI freshman year, your sophomore year, that can definitely break it. And that just scares me.”
The health center officials noticed the effectiveness of these programs, Serafini said. Certain groups provide pre- and post-tests when presenting to students and organizations.
“We’re always looking for ways to change behaviors that might lead to violence, and we have seen that (improvement),” Serafini said.
PWHC officials said they try to help students in whatever ways they can. That can include assisting victims of violence and trying to help them stay in school, and seeing them through recovery, Serafini said.
Seeing results and improvement with alcohol abuse is a bit tougher, Serafini said. Officials said they hope to see fewer instances of binge drinking and hospitalizations, but they also want students to seek medical attention when necessary.
“So, yes, we do see some good results, but we want to see better results,” Serafini said. “It’s not where we ought to be.”
Aggravated assault is among the other crimes that have increased, Crain said.
“The number of reported aggravated assaults, nine in 2011, is quite a jump from the two in 2009 and one in 2010,” Crain said. “While violent crime is still rare, it does happen and citizens should exercise caution before escalating confrontations.”
Crain defined aggravated assault as “there is some injury to a person or a weapon that has threatened to be used.” People should use caution to not exacerbate a situation, which could cause someone to threaten injury or harm with a weapon to another person, Crain said. Instead of creating more conflict, a person could use de-escalation techniques or remove him or herself from the situation entirely.
Reports of sex offenses increased from two in 2010, to five in 2011, according to the Clery Report. Five events were reported in 2011, although those five offenses might not have occurred during that year, Crain said. As police receive reports of sexual assault, they file them at the time they are made.
PWHC also offers information about sexual assault and rape.
One group, STAR Central is involved with preventing sexual assault, but also teaching students prevention methods, Serafini said. Additionally, there is the RESPECT group consisting of peer educators who teach about bystander intervention and how to help and prevent friends from entering risky situations.
“We try to make sure students know about these programs,” Serafini said. “We want to reduce risks for safety reasons on campus.”
The Clery Report addresses two important pieces of information, Crain said.
“One, it discusses the policies the university has relating to safety and security on campus,” Crain said. “And it describes how a person should report a crime and what they can expect after they make a report and who to contact, and that type of thing.”
The second part the Clery Report addresses are the statistics, allowing a person to compare changes in crime within the past three years, Crain said.