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.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Johndevaneycapefearclinic300x300

Cape Fear Clinic Makes Inroads Against Hepatitis C

John Devaney - Cape Fear Clinic
Chris coudriet headshot 300x300 10211545555

Resiliency is Key to Economic Recovery After Florence

Chris Coudriet - New Hanover County Government
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

Business Recovery After a Disaster: First Steps to Recovery

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington

Trending News

How Wilmington Landed An Earth Fare, 113 Jobs

Cece Nunn - Nov 12, 2018

Restaurant: Impossible Chef Coming To Wilmington For GLOW Fundraiser

Jessica Maurer - Nov 13, 2018

In Military Cutoff Road Center, Spectrum Fine Jewelry Closes

Cece Nunn - Nov 13, 2018

Local Firm To Make Dog Wash Machines For Australian Company

Christina Haley O'Neal - Nov 13, 2018

Wilmington Marine Center Adds Boat Slips, Plans More Expansion

Johanna Cano - Nov 14, 2018

In The Current Issue

Chronic Disease Biggest Health Concern In Survey

A Dosher Memorial Hospital survey shows that nearly 48 percent indicated chronic disease is the “biggest” health con­cern for the community....


Wilmington Health Changes Include Convenient Care Return

Wilmington Health’s Porters Neck Convenient Care facility recently returned to 8108-B Market St....


Building A Bigger Workforce

With the addition of several new customized training and workforce develop­ment programs at Cape Fear Com­munity College this year, Josh Dav...

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2018 Power Breakfast - Dishing on the Restaurant Biz
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes