Over 50% of college students drank alcohol in the past month, and 67% participated in binge drinking according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Here at Ole Miss, the University Police Department crime reports show a similar trend. Alcohol-related offenses on campus are not uncommon.
In the past 30 days, there were approximately 60 instances where University Police were called because of alcohol-related offenses. The incidents ranged from public drunk to possession of alcohol while underage. Because of an intoxicated person, emergency medical services were requested during eight of those incidents.
With Ole Miss being a major SEC school, sporting events bring lots of fans and more alcohol. UPD reported 57 alcohol-related incidents during the season’s first two home football weekends. Co-owner of West Jackson Wine and Spirits Steve Snyder said he sees the most alcohol bought during football weekends.
Snyder said it’s “the college, the younger crowd here” that brings him “a lot more business.” But he also said students are not cautious when drinking
“You drink a little, and you know when you’ve had enough. Not the power drink, and that’s the problem we have here,” Snyder said. “A lot of people go out [and] slam 10 shots. Then, [by the] time they get home, they’re wasted.”
Alcohol-related offenses, such as being visibly overcome or being in possession while underage is why many students end up in the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct. Director Tracy Murry said his office receives reports from Student Housing, Oxford and University Police Departments.
“We take reports [and] read over them. If we feel like there’s an allegation or possibility of an alcohol violation or drug violation, usually the first step is we create a case for it, and then we call the student in, and we meet with the student,” Murry said.
The Minimum Sanctions Policy, known as the Two-Strike Policy among students, calls for students to meet for a hearing with the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct and the University Judicial Council. If the student is found responsible for the alcohol offense, he or she is charged with a “strike.”
The first offense includes an alcohol education program, fines and a probationary period for the remaining semester and the next two consecutive semesters. The second offense calls for suspension from the university for an entire semester.
Murry said only about three or four percent of students receive a second strike, and most alcohol violations are among first-year students.
“[It’s] not because they’re first-year students, but because a high percentage of them are underage and a lot of them live on campus. A lot of times we don’t have a second offense because people move off campus or because people become of age,” Murry said.