Wilmingtonbiz logo
Print
Education

Opinion-Gary Miller: Universities Should Address ‘High-Risk Drinking’ By Students

By Gary Miller, posted May 9, 2014
(Gary Miller)
A recent media article called into question UNCW’s student conduct process and specifically an issue regarding alcohol use by students.
 
High-risk drinking by students is something that university leaders are confronting nationwide. It impedes campus security efforts as well as student mental and physical health, and, ultimately, it has a negative impact on student success. Importantly, the culture of high-risk drinking by college students contributes to risky behaviors that lead to serious personal injuries, assaults, and even fatalities. Striking statistics illustrate this point. Each year in our country, approximately 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 become unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol, and approximately 1,825 students in the same age range die as a result of alcohol-related injuries. Additionally, each year approximately 696,000 students in the same age range are assaulted by a student who has been drinking, and approximately 97,000 students of this age are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault. Nationally, 95% of the violent crimes and 90% of sexual assaults that occur in college communities involve the use of alcohol by one or both parties involved.* 
 
At many institutions, the campus community may treat heavy drinking as a “rite of passage.” To students, this sends an unhealthy message that society endorses and expects them to engage in high-risk drinking as a typical part of the college experience. These messages reinforce a myth among students that high-risk drinking is the norm, and it is not.    
 
In recent years, a number of students at UNC campuses have died due to alcohol-related incidents. Not only do these incidents affect the safety of our students, but they also negatively affect retention and the greater academic mission of the university. Not insignificantly, they also constitute a major risk management issue for the institution.
 
As an undergrad, I joined a member of a Greek organization, and I remain a firm supporter of the role of Greek organizations on college campuses. However, belonging to an organization doesn’t supersede one’s obligation to behave responsibly and to adhere to the rules of the university and the community. I am firmly committed to the safety and security of our students, and our faculty and staff have been entrusted to protect that safety. That remains our ultimate obligation as we educate and support our students throughout their journey of learning.

Gary L. Miller is chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

*College Drinking, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, available here.

Editor's note: Miller's opinion column references a recent media report. An article in the Friday edition of the StarNews discussed the chancellor and UNCW's student conduct process.

Join The Discussion

Similar Stories

In The Current Issue

On The Ballot: NHC Commissioners

Find out more about the four candidates running for a spot on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners and their views on business-related issues.

PNC Survey: NC Businesses Expect Hiring, Price Hikes

Business owners in North Carolina are feeling more optimistic than they were six months ago, according to PNC’s autumn 2014 survey of owners...

Midtown Sees Blitz Of New Rooftops

As an increase in residential construction changes the shape of Wilmington’s midtown, business owners around Shipyard and Independence boule...

Ico topnews Editor's Picks

Canvas On Demand Founders Share Startup Advice During Entrepreneurship Week

Jenny Callison - About 21 hours ago

Developers Submit Eight Proposals For City Parking Deck Project

Cece Nunn - Oct 23, 2014 Trending News

Coastal Resources Commission Airs Top Coastal Issues

Jenny Callison - Oct 23, 2014

More Racers, More Impact In PPD B2B Events This Weekend

Jenny Callison - Oct 22, 2014
Services

Dr. Egg Pediatric Dentistry

Ico trending Trending News

Ico newsinimages News in Pictures

Have a tip, pitch or guest column?  Send us a tip.

Gallery Galleries

Video Videos

Power Breakfast Series - Special Sauce for Economic Development - March. 2014
WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote - Ken Lowe - Founder HGTV, CEO Scripps Networks - March. 2014

Register to Continue Seeing Wilmington's Best Business Coverage!


There are three ways to register for free.

Sign in with LinkedIn, Facebook or create an account:



Already registered? Login here.

Your free registration includes:

  • Access to 10 articles per month on WilmingtonBiz.com
  • Email updates to stay informed on local business news
  • A mobile optimized website
  • Advanced notification of Business Journal events
  • Management of your digital and print subscriptions
Laptop iphone ipad