Safeguarding Students: Being Aware of Alcohol-Related Issues

Underage drinking, legal drinking, no drinking. Alcohol can affect all students. From assaults to vandalism to unsafe sex to injury, the statistics concerning college students and alcohol are a sober reminder that ongoing education is important to safeguarding students.

Parent expectations and reactions about alcohol use can run the gamut from passive acceptance to concerted efforts at reinforcing a no-drinking mindset among their students.

The law and institutional policies clearly define age appropriateness and other factors. However, students and even parents can be swayed by influences such as peer pressure, societal acceptance of alcohol and bars for social purposes, and a misconception that drinking can be a rite of passage for young adults.

Defining the Dangers

A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges is a report issued by the Federal Task Force of the National Advisory on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that includes recently updated statistics that highlight the dangers facing college students ages 18-24:

  • Injury: Nearly 600,000 students are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol each year
  • Assault: Each year nearly 700,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking
  • Sexual Abuse: Approximately 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year
  • Unsafe Sex: On an annual basis, about 400,000 students have unprotected sex and over 100,000 students said they were too intoxicated to know if they consented
  • Academic Problems: One-fourth of the students reported academic concerns that resulted from their drinking

Partnering to Protect Students

BW has policies that prohibit irresponsible and illegal drug and alcohol use. Students who violate the policies can be subjected to legal as well as BW-instituted consequences. In order to curb potential drinking opportunities, campus groups sponsor events aimed at encouraging student fun without substance use.

CARE (Center for Alcohol & Related Issues Education) is a BW program that promotes educational and social activities that encourage the health and well being of students.

Parents also should encourage responsible behavior.  First-year students, in particular, face numerous freedoms and temptations that can catch even the most cautious students off guard. The following guidelines may help.

  • Remind your student underage alcohol consumption and driving after drinking are illegal and prohibited by BW policies
  • Encourage avoidance of social gatherings solely focused on underage drinking
  • Explain the importance of intervention when situations warrant attention. Your student may prevent a death, injury or assault
  • Notice changes in your student that might indicate issues with alcohol
  • Ask about your student's social life
  • Suggest involvement in co-curricular activities
  • Model your own positive behavior with regard to alcohol use

Concerned About Alcohol?

If changes in your student have you worried, call Counseling Services at 440-826-2180. We're here to listen, advise and assist.

We offer student-focused outreach programs and other initiatives related to alcohol use. Students are encouraged to call or visit if they have questions or concerns.