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Alcohol related disciplinary action raises 64 percent in year


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Disciplinary action for on-campus drug and alcohol related offenses rose sharply between 2014 and 2015 according to the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

Liquor law violations on-campus referred for disciplinary action rose from 473 to 776, or 64 percent, and drug law violations referred for disciplinary action rose by 17 percent — from 125 to 147.

Tom Idema, director of Student Conduct, said there could be myriad reasons for the increase.

“It could be an increase in the number of students living in the halls from one year to the next, if you have more people you’re more likely to have more violations,” Idema said. “Or it could be that staffers come across more situations than the previous year. It’s really hard to put an actual answer as to why the increase, because it could be staff (related) or student related.”

The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is released each year to notify students on campus of the different offenses committed on university grounds.

All universities that receive federal funding are required to release these numbers. Failure to do so can result in fines of $35,000 per violation.

The drug and alcohol disciplinary action categories weren’t the only ones that saw changes in numbers.

From 2014 to 2015, the number of reported on-campus rapes decreased from nine to four. Liquor law arrests decreased from 136 to 53, with drug law arrests increasing from 36 to 40. Reported instances of stalking also increased from six to 10 from 2014 to 2015.

Idema defined the differences between a liquor law arrest and disciplinary action stemming from a liquor law violation in terms of whether police had to get involved.

“A lot of time when it’s alcohol (related instances), police aren’t going to come, as long as everyone is cooperative with (residence hall) staff,” Idema said. “If you’re not going to be cooperative with staff, then the resident assistant is going to get the hall director involved and they’ll call CMUPD. Then a student is putting themselves at risk for an MIP. It’s always a lot better to be dealt with by the hall staff and student conduct than it is with law enforcement.”

The severity of punishment a student receives when referred to the Office of Student Conduct is on a sliding scale, Idema said.

Typically, for a first time offense, students will be fined $215, have a letter sent home and be required to take an online alcohol education course which takes about two hours to complete.

Through this, Idema said many students who find themselves in his office are “one time offenders.”

Other Reported Offenses

Outside of alcohol related offenses, aggravated assault rose from none to one recorded instance in the past year. Reported burglary offenses increased from five to six.

Some numbers recorded were outliers.

Fondling increased from four to 21, but the offenses were carried out by three people — 15 instances coming from one man who was apprehended for groping women as he rode a bicycle around campus.

Lt. Cameron Wassman of the Central Michigan University Police Department said the numbers overall in the report look fairly similar to what the department expected.

“I wouldn’t say any (numbers) are necessarily way up or way down from where they usually are,” he said. “Is there one good reason why these numbers change (from year to year)? Probably not.”

Wassman drew attention to several categories which had large jumps in reported offense. He said the change could be in relation to students being more educated about what constitutes criminal behavior.

“Look at stalking for example — is it that more instances of stalking are happening? I don’t know,” he said. “I think people are becoming more and more aware of ‘hey wait a minute, this kind of behavior is not OK,’ and they’ll report it. So that might show in those (big) increases.”

Despite the increases in several categories, many categories saw declines in reported instances. Domestic violence dropped from four to two, arson related incidents from one to zero and robbery from two to zero. There were also three reported instances of dating violence, the same number between 2014 and 2015.

Wassman defined the difference between dating and domestic violence in regards to whether or not those involved in the act were romantically involved. Domestic violence can involve not just boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses, but roommates too if the offender lives in an apartment or residence hall, Wassman said.

The categories of murder, manslaughter by negligence, incest, statutory rape, weapons law arrests and weapons law violations referred for disciplinary action remained at zero reported offenses.

The full report can be found online at

www.cmich.edu.

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About Jordyn Hermani

Troy senior Jordyn Hermani, Editor-in-Chief of Central Michigan Life, is a double major ...

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