Michigan College Wrestles With Campus Drinking

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Officials at Albion College are cracking down on drinking this fall as they grapple with 11 suspected cases of alcohol poisoning.

The private liberal arts school near Lansing says it's simply re-emphasizing some sanctions already on the books.

For instance, parents of first-time offenders will continue to be notified. Offenders will also be put on probation, which prevents freshmen from pledging fraternities or sororities.

Fines range from $250 to $500.

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Binge Drinking on College Campuses
Study by Harvard University's School of Public Health

  • College presidents agree binge drinking is the most serious problem on campus.

  • In a two week span, 44 percent of U.S. college students engaged in binge drinking during the two weeks before the survey.

  • More than 51 percent of the men drank five or more drinks in a row.

  • More than 40 percent of the women drank four or more drinks in a row.

  • Students more likely to binge drink are white, age 23 or younger, and are residents of a fraternity or sorority. If they were binge drinkers in high school, they were three times more likely to binge in college.

  • The percentage of students who were binge drinkers was nearly uniform from freshman to senior year, even though students under 21 are prohibited from purchasing alcohol.

  • More than half the binge drinkers, almost one in four students, were frequent binge drinkers, that is, they binged three or more times in a two-week period. While one in five students reported abstaining from drinking alcohol.

Why Binge Drink?

  • Drinking to get drunk (cited by 47 percent of students who consumed alcohol)

  • Status associated with drinking

  • Culture of alcohol consumption on campus

  • Peer pressure & academic stress


    • A higher percentage of binge drinkers than non-binge drinkers reported having experienced alcohol-related problems since the beginning of the school year. Frequent binge drinkers were 21 times more likely than non-binge drinkers to have:

      • Missed Class
      • Fallen behind in schoolwork
      • Damaged property
      • Been hurt or injured
      • Engaged in unplanned sexual activity
      • Not used protection when having sex
      • Gotten in trouble with campus police
      • Driven a car after drinking

    • About three out of four students responding to the study reported experiencing at least one adverse consequence of another student’s drinking during the school year. At colleges with a high binge drinking rates:
      • Sleep or study interrupted: 71 percent
      • Had to take care of an intoxicated student: 57 percent
      • Had been insulted or humiliated: 36 percent
      • Had an unwanted sexual experience: 23 percent
      • Had a serious argument: 23 percent
      • Had property damaged: 16 percent
      • Had been pushed, hit or assaulted: 11 percent
      • Had been the victim of a sexual advance assault or date rape: 1 percent

    • Binge drinking is a widespread phenomenon on most college campuses, a problem that not only interferes with the mission of higher education but also carries with it serious risks of disease, injury, and death. Findings from the Harvard survey suggest that college and university administrators will want to intensify their search for new approaches to preventing both underage and binge drinking.

    Source: www.edc.org (Education Development Center Web site) contributed to this report.
    A college spokesman says all but one of the alcohol poisoning incidents involved first-year students.