Nathan Bridge, News Editor
Utica College has already seen several instances of binge-drinking taken to a dangerous level, with four separate cases of incapacitated students being taken off campus to Faxton St. Luke’s Hospital in September. This is a number that Campus Safety Director Wayne Sullivan described as “aggressive” and “concerning.”
According to Sullivan, Campus Safety has not had any issues this semester with excessive drinking occurring on campus, but instead finding students who returned to the campus after a night of drinking at off-campus housing or nearby bars. In all four instances of hospitalization this semester, the students were underage and in possession of fake ID’s.
“We value each and every one of our students,” Sullivan said. “To lose one would be awful.”
Sullivan described the handling of excessive drinking situations as an evaluation process by vigilant campus safety officers and EMTs.
Any student who appears to have had too much to drink or cannot answer basic questions regarding their drinking that night, such as how many drinks or when was the last drink they had, has to be given professional help as a preventative safety measure. This includes contacting and working with local law enforcement.
“We just can’t take that chance, because the one time we misdiagnose or don’t get the right information, we could lose somebody and we can’t live with that,” Sullivan said.
Excessive drinking, or binge-drinking, are phrases that college students are all-too-familiar with. According to the 2017 Campus Safety Information and Statistics report, there has been a recorded total of 462 alcohol-related incidents on the Utica College campus from 2014 to 2016.
After a student has been documented in an incident of excessive drinking, they are processed through the Student Conduct System and are given a conduct hearing. According to Director of Student Conduct Carl Lohmann, the hearing will determine the next steps that the student needs to take, depending on the circumstances.
In most cases, the student will not be reprimanded in terms of probation or suspension, but they will have to do a variety of activities made to educate the student on alcohol safety and awareness.
Depending on the scenario, the student will be subject to online tutorials, college counseling sessions or further reflection on their actions through the Student Conduct System.
Lohmann remarked that while four incidents in a month is a high number, it is not unusual for the beginning of a school semester, combined with the students being underage.
“Oftentimes new students haven’t drank much, if at all, before and don’t know their limits,” Lohmann said. “They’re often in a new setting, with a new group of friends they want to impress or fit in with, and things go too far.”