Fewer student alcohol-related incidents reported than in previous years

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Ethan Epstein/Staff

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There have been fewer alcohol-related incidents in the first weeks of this academic year as compared with previous years, according to the campus Division of Student Affairs.

Although Adam Ratliff, communications manager for student affairs, said in an email that although it is too early in the semester to discern semesterwide trends, the office saw only 10 emergency medical transports related to alcohol intoxication this year in contrast with higher numbers in previous years. In fall 2014, for instance, the campus saw 54 alcohol-related transports, while the most recent spring semester saw 39 transports — a 28 percent decrease.

According to UCPD Sgt. Sabrina Reich, the department has handled fewer alcohol-related incidents within their jurisdiction so far this year. Last month, UCPD responded to 10 incidents involving students, compared with last August and August 2013 when UCPD responded to 14 incidents and 25 incidents, respectively.

Reich said many calls come from areas around student housing units because many people only feel the full effects of their alcohol consumption once they return home.

Although the first week of the new year often sees many alcohol-related incidents, Ratliff said in the email, the campus is anticipating a smaller number in the weeks ahead. He added that the Division of Student Affairs is working with currently unrecognized chapters of the CalGreeks community “to encourage them to adopt policies that will bring them back into compliance and continue to reduce incidents.”

According to Ratliff, this year’s campus-sanctioned Welcome Week events have been extended to a full three weeks of activities called Getting Your Bearings, including game nights, movies and comedy.

“As part of Getting Your Bearings, the LEAD Center has worked to build community and create more late-night events that provide alternatives to alcohol,” he said.

During Welcome Week, UCPD provided safety presentations about alcohol for students and parents, Reich said. UCPD also partners with Berkeley Police Department to hold joint safety patrols on the south side of campus. The patrol’s purpose is to educate members of the campus community, ensure safety and call for enforcement action when necessary, according to Reich.

Ratliff said in the email that CalGreeks has also established policies and leadership roles that focus on health, safety and well-being. The Interfraternity Council voted this fall to institute escalating financial penalties on members of recognized chapters who break alcohol rules. The council also created a committee made up of elected students responsible for ensuring individual and organizational compliance with council regulations.

“We hope to continue to foster a student culture of responsible and safe alcohol use,” Ratliff said.

Getting Your Bearings events run through Sept. 12, ending with a screening of “Forrest Gump” on Memorial Glade.

Emily Pedersen covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @epedersendc.