Alcohol offenses spike on DU campus

By Jen Cardone | The Duquesne Duke 

Liquor law violations on campus increased again in 2013, according to the public safety department’s annual security and fire safety report.

During the 2013 calendar year, there were 654 reported alcohol violations on campus, 194 more than the amount in 2012.

There were also 15 liquor law arrests, 81 drug law violations with four arrests, two hate crimes by intimidation, two reports of dating violence, one forcible sex offense, one report of burglary, one stalking incident and one fire on campus.

The fire, in Brottier Hall, was filed as unintentional and resulted in one injury and $4,304 in property damage.

There were 45 Part One offenses on campus, including 44 reports of theft and one case of burglary. This equates to a Part One crime rate of 408.05, which is a 25.4 percent drop from last year.

The report also unveiled a crime rate of 1,550.59 in Part Two offenses, which include liquor law offenses, public drunkenness and non-aggravated assaults. This number is up 128.58 points from 2012.

DU Cares coordinator Dan Gittins said the increase in alcohol violations was a result of the largest freshman class in University history and the training of staff to respond to alcohol violations.

“I don’t know that I think the use of alcohol increases each year, but there are more violations sometimes because we are better at becoming aware of and addressing this issue at many levels,” Gittins said.

Most alcohol violations involved students returning from parties off campus, according to Gittins.

Gittins said Duquesne is taking action to address the issue of excessive drinking in areas surrounding Duquesne, including the South Side.

“Alcohol has become normalized in our culture to the point that sometimes students feel like they are ‘left out’ if they don’t want to drink,” Gittins said. “Students do not perceive that the consequences will be significant enough to outweigh the choice to drink alcohol on a Friday or Saturday night.”

DU Cares is Duquesne’s alcohol and drug prevention program that handles students who violate alcohol and drug policies.

Capt. Michael Sippey, in compliance with the Clery Center, compiles the public safety department’s report. Public safety director Tom Hart applauded the report.

“We accurately record our stats, we do comprehensive training for campus security authorities and we take this stuff seriously and so does Duquesne University as a whole,” Hart said.