WMU News

Alcohol policy reiterated in letter to students

Aug. 18, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- In a letter mailed today to WMU students, Dr. Judith I. Bailey, president of Western Michigan University, outlined the University's position on civil disobedience and other destructive behavior and reiterated WMU policy on alcoholic beverages. The complete text of Bailey's letter follows. Relevant portions of the WMU Student Code and other information included with the president's letter can be found following the text of the letter.

Dear WMU Students and Families:

The start of the fall semester is just a short time away and as the new president of Western Michigan University, I am looking forward to seeing this campus return to the vibrant and busy status that only a fall semester can bring.

The start of the fall semester is a time when students forge their first campus friendships or greet returning friends after a summer hiatus. But all too often in recent years, what begins as a back-to-school celebration on a college campus turns into something quite different. I need your help to ensure that our campus not only remains peaceful this fall, but also serves as a model for responsible student behavior.

No doubt, you've read or heard about how student parties, which frequently revolve around alcohol, can escalate into situations that result in destructive behavior and a negative reputation for an entire student body. What may begin as a simple back-to-school party can quickly turn into disorderly and destructive behavior. When this happens off campus, students are often under the mistaken impression that the University will not become involved. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

You need to be aware that our University has a student code of conduct that holds students accountable for their behavior both on and off the campus. Disciplinary sanctions for violations of the student code can include anything from a reprimand to expulsion from the University. (See information following this letter.)

In addition, you should note that the penalties from civil authorities for students who take part in disturbances are increasingly severe. A new Michigan law bars students convicted of rioting on or near campus from attending any public college or university in Michigan for a period of up to two years.

I urge you to take some time to talk frankly as a family about your expectations, hopes and fears as well as the dangers individuals face when it comes to alcohol use and irresponsible student behavior. I promise you that we will do our best to reinforce that message throughout the school year.

Should you have any questions about our Student Code or the issues addressed above, please contact Dr. Diane Anderson, WMU dean of students and vice president for student affairs. She can be reached at (269) 387-2152. Working together, we can ensure that the coming year is one full of academic and social growth and success for our students and moments of special pride for their families.

Warmest wishes for a safe and successful academic year,

Judith I. Bailey

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

Relevant passages from the Western Michigan University Student Code

A. Jurisdiction of the University
Generally, University jurisdiction and discipline shall be limited to conduct which occurs on University premises. The University may take action in off-campus situations involving: student misconduct demonstrating flagrant disregard for any person or persons; or when a student's or student organization's behavior is judged to threaten the health, safety, and/or property of any individual or group; or any other activity which adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.

B. Conduct Rules and Regulations
Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Article IV:
1. Alcohol use or possession--Use, possession or distribution of alcoholic beverages except as expressly permitted by the law and University regulations.

C. Violation of Law and University Discipline
1. University disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law, which is also a violation of this Student Code. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus at the sole discretion of the Director of the Office of Student Conduct or his/her designee. Disciplinary proceedings will be carried out independent of any off-campus proceedings.

Questions about the WMU Student Code should be directed to Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs, at (269) 387-2152 or diane.anderson@wmich.edu

Harvard study details dangers of alcohol abuse among college students

Please consider the following facts compiled by Dr. Henry Wechsler, the director of a Harvard University study that for the past decade has tracked the drinking habits of over 15,000 students at 140 four-year colleges:

More than 40 percent of all college students nationally admit to binge drinking in the past 30 days. Dr. Wechsler defines binge drinking as five or more drinks in a single sitting for men, and four or more drinks in a single sitting for women.

Each year, some 1,400 college students from across the country die in alcohol-related accidents. That's nearly one-half the final death toll in the World Trade Center disaster.

More than one million students annually suffer injuries caused by their own or someone else's alcohol abuse.

159,000 freshman drop out of college every year for alcohol or drug-related reasons.

One college study showed that 74 percent of sexual assault perpetrators on campus and 55 percent of the sexual assault victims had been drinking.

Alcohol has been linked to one-half of all campus crime.

WMU News
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