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UCPD reports increase in alcohol-related calls as school year begins

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Former editor in chief and president

AUGUST 27, 2012

The number of alcohol-related illnesses called in to UCPD since move-in weekend this year has already surpassed the number recorded in all of August last year.

UCPD officers responded to a total of 14 alcohol-related incidents that required transportation to the hospital since the beginning of August, according to UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett. Of the 14, 12 have occurred since move-in weekend.

Bennett said that last year, there were 11 alcohol-related incidents recorded during the month of August.

“It’s not a dramatic increase,” Bennett said. “But we’re not at the end of the month yet.”

The frequency, while similar to that of last year, is an increase from two years ago, when UCPD officers responded to only seven alcohol-related casualty calls between move-in weekend and Labor Day weekend.

UC policy prohibits student drinking that impairs “work performance, scholarly activities, or student life.”

The two alcohol-related incidents that occurred before move-in weekend involved students of legal drinking age living in I-House, according to Bennett.

“Usually a roommate or other resident will report that a student is in need of attention due to alcohol consumption,” said Marty Takimoto, director of marketing communications for campus Residential and Student Service Programs, in an email. “A resident may call 911 directly or seek assistance from an RA who will, in turn, contact UCPD.”

Karen Hughes, coordinator for [email protected], said the data could represent more students calling to report situations, rather than more incidents. [email protected] — a campaign run through University Health Services — aims to reduce alcohol-related risks for the campus community through a variety of strategies.

“I think it’s possible that we are seeing a little more culture change,” Hughes said.

With Memorial Stadium set to reopen this season, more students will be on campus for gameday activities. Bennett said she expects to see an increase in the number of alcohol-related illnesses associated with football gamedays throughout the season.

Twelve of the 14 reports so far this month were for people under 21, according to Bennett. She said the one nonstudent reported this month thus far was probably acquainted with a student, because the incident was reported from a residence hall. Nonstudents must be checked in by a student to enter most residential facilities. She added that fraternity houses, co-ops and apartments are outside of UCPD jurisdiction.

Nevin Rao, a program coordinator at the Tang Center, said students consistently think more students are harming themselves than actually are.

“What is really important … is that students don’t overestimate how many people are using alcohol and don’t underestimate its harm.”

Chloe Hunt is the lead crime reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

AUGUST 28, 2012

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