Student-related alcohol charges are up at Iowa State

Danielle Ferguson

The number of alcohol charges for students at Iowa State is reported to be higher than the University of Iowa’s, according to the Board of Regents’ records of the past year.

In 2011, the first year that alcohol-related charges were tracked, students at Iowa were charged with 417 student charges and ISU students recorded 316 student charges.

However, numbers from January through September 2012 showed an increase of 27 percent at Iowa State and a drop of 25 percent at Iowa. Iowa State reported 433 student alcohol-related charges and Iowa stated 334.  

In a comment to the Des Moines Register, ISU Government of the Student Body President Jared Knight said, “[The increase] is surprising. I haven’t seen a change in culture on or off campus that would explain these new statistics.”

Explanations for this increase may include Iowa State’s all-time high overall enrollment and a larger percentage of on-campus population, said Jerry Stewart, director of public safety.

“[Iowa State] has more officers working this year than last year due to the filling of vacancies that existed in 2011,” said Stewart. “These three factors have probably contributed to an increased percentage of students charged with alcohol offenses. “

ISU Dean of Students Pamela Anthony agrees that the increased enrollment adds to the charges, but also takes note that football season has reaped some of the benefits.

“Of course, there is the increased enrollment but we’ve also seen a positive trend in football game attendance,” Anthony said. “Tickets were sold out and having a winning season for a bowl-bound team is fantastic.”

Regarding behavior during those football games, Anthony stated that staff members from the Dean of Students Office as well as others within the Division of Student Affairs have staffed every home football game.

“I believe this has been helpful in articulating our expectations to students about appropriate behavior,” said Anthony.

The decrease in Iowa’s student charges may be the result of more of alcohol-free event programs on campus, a free taxi service for students, and an anti-binge drinking campaign Iowa’s student body President, Nic Pottebam, told the Des Moines Register.

Although student charges at Iowa State overthrew those at Iowa, the overall number of alcohol-related charges, including nonstudents, is lower at Iowa State. In 2011, Iowa State recorded 668 compared to Iowa’s 903. Iowa State’s number in 2012 was 807, and Iowa reported 1,005.

The Board of Regents data for alcohol-related charges include: public intoxication, operating while intoxicated, possession of alcohol under legal age, open container, consuming in public, bootlegging, providing liquor to minors, attempt to purchase alcohol by a minor and serving/selling alcohol after hours.

University of Northern Iowa showed a decrease in both student and overall alcohol related charges. In 2011, overall charges were 89 and decreased to 71 in 2012. Student charges for 2011 were 43 and 2012 acquired 25.

As for how Iowa State is dealing with the increased charges, Anthony said the Dean of Students Office has partnered up with the Department of Residence to help with the cases. ISU Police also aids in response to the incidences.

“As we move forward, it will be important that we continue to take proactive and visible approaches regarding appropriate alcohol use within the University community,” said Anthony.