Alcohol arrest

Sarah McKenzie

The University might not be such a party school after all.
University Police statistics for the years 1997 and 1998 indicate that more than 60 percent of individuals ticketed for alcohol-related offenses around the Twin Cities campus are not affiliated with the University.
The University Police Department released the statistics after the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Sunday that the University ranked second in 1997 alcohol-related arrests on U.S. college campuses with 555.
But only 171 of those arrested were students — about 31 percent. And while the total number of arrests rose again in 1998 to 606, the percentage of students remained proportionate at 202 — about 33 percent.
University Police Lt. Steve Johnson, acting police chief, said newspaper reports suggesting that University students have drastically increased their consumption of alcohol on campus are inaccurate.
He said that several new hires within the police department have contributed to tougher enforcement of alcohol-related crimes in the residence halls and on campus roadways.
Of the 230 individuals University Police ticketed for drunken driving offenses in 1997, only 28 were students. In 1998, University Police cited 29 students for drunken driving and 158 individuals who are not affiliated with the University.
“There are main arteries cutting right through campus,” said University Police Sgt. Jo Anne Benson of the several busy city streets that traverse the campus. She also noted that the University’s urban location sets it apart from other college campuses in terms of crime reporting.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison came in fifth in the Chronicle’s survey with 342 total arrests. But at Madison, the violations primarily reflect offenses in dormitories or common areas such as the student union. The figures do not include incidents in private residence halls, fraternity or sorority houses, or public places, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Ralph Rickgarn, coordinator of student behavior for Housing and Residential Life, said the officers have been more responsive to complaints in the residence halls in the past few years.
Rickgarn, who has been at the University since he was a student in the 1950s, said alcohol abuse has always been an issue on campus.
But he admits that to suddenly classify the University as a “party school” would be unfair.