Wilmingtonbiz logo

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

Book On Business

2016 bob cover

The 2016 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!
Print Only
$24.95 - Qty
Print + Excel File
$79.95 - Qty

In The Current Issue

Health Care Heroes: NP/PA

This year's Health Care Heroes finalists in the Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant category: Virginia Czimber, Mary Beth Koehler and Patti Lee.

Trading With The World Is Conference Focus

Wilmington has positioned itself to play a critical role in increasing the region’s global trade with the rest of the world. That was the se...

Up, Up And Away: What's Next For Wilmington International Airport

Revenues are up at Wilmington International Airport; commercial passenger figures are steady; its business park is growing; and more retail ...

Ico topnews Editor's Picks

On Wrightsville Ave., Mixed-use Project Could Replace Mobile Homes

Cece Nunn - About 2 hours ago

SUP – Closer To The Finish Line?

Vince Winkel - About 5 hours ago

Real Estate News: Branching Out, Boat Tours, $1B Milestone

Cece Nunn - About 12 hours ago Trending News

Live Oak Earnings Beat Wall Street Expectations

Joe Baglio - Oct 27, 2016


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 - Election 2016 North Carolina's Choice - 2016
WilmingtonBiz Expo - Key Note Lunch with Keynote Lunch with Chip Mahan - 2016

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