Recent research reveals that Miami University has the highest number of alcohol citations per student of any public Ohio university. A 2010 report found Miami had 543 on campus alcohol violations whereas Ohio University had only 521. In a 2006 report, the numbers showed that Miami had 790 liquor law violations, while the Ohio State University (OSU), a considerably larger university had 703 on campus citations. The numbers are startling because they associate Miami’s students as students who party too hard and get caught.
The editorial board of The Miami Student regards these numbers as representing a cyclic trend for underage drinking. We agree that it is good that we have a high number of citations because drinking underage is illegal. The numbers tell the university that we have a worse drinking culture than schools like Ohio University and OSU.
At Miami, there is a zero tolerance policy for drinking underage. Students do not receive warnings. Instead, students receive citations. Resident assistants and police officers have the ability to write up student violators.
The university has a two strikes policy regarding a student caught intoxicated or exhibiting negative behavior involving alcohol. If a student is a first time offender, he or she is required to complete four hours of substance abuse education and a comprehensive substance abuse assessment. The student also must pay the cost associated with the class and assessment. If a student commits a second offense, he or she will be suspended immediately.
Moreover, the university implements a three strikes policy if a student violates laws regarding the illegal consumption of alcohol. The first strike includes the completion of two hours of substance abuse education and the payment of the fees for the course. The second strike requires the student take a comprehensive substance abuse assessment and the fees associated. A third offense results in the immediate suspension from the university.
This board commends the university for its steadfast efforts to combat the issue of underage drinking, but we contest that more effective programs be financed.
Instead of promoting a no tolerance underage drinking policy, the university needs to strive to make sure students are safe and are making good decisions. The two to four hour classes do a disservice to student violators. The one-time class lasts too long and only reaches out to students once. If a student is a repeat offender, he or she faces removal from the university and may not receive the help he or she needs. The university needs to reevaluate the structure of alcohol education programs. Awareness programs such as AlcoholEdu do a better job showing that the university is doing something than actually educating students.
This board suggests the university invest in providing individual and group counseling services for first-time and repeat offenders. Such an effort will give students the chance to discuss their issues revolving around alcohol. If counseling sessions are mandatory, students will be forced to deal with issues regarding dangerous drinking habits.
Moreover, first time violators need to be scared out of repeatedly abusing alcohol. “Scared Straight” tactics may be utilized as a successful teaching method. These tactics work because an individual who once struggled with substance abuse is brought in to discuss his or her former state to stand as an example for students. Overall, the university needs to evaluate the methods it is employing to better reach students to help lower the number beyond a strong police force.