Surveys indicate continuing alcohol problems among KU students

New data are helping paint a clearer picture of what may be behind the drinking problems among students at Kansas University.

While university officials said they are still reviewing results from three surveys, preliminary data indicate:

• KU students are drinking less alcohol on campus and more alcohol off-campus.

• There may be a higher tolerance for underage drinking in this community, compared with other college communities.

• Binge drinking and irresponsible drinking continue to rise among students. One survey indicates about a third of KU students consume more than five drinks per night.

“Alcohol abuse continues to be a problem,” said Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success.

Increased light was shed on alcohol abuse at KU in 2009, after two students died in incidents involving alcohol. In May, the university began notifying students’ parents about alcohol and drug violations on campus.

Roney said even though education has increased, student alcohol use remains a problem.

“There’s still a significant issue with alcohol consumption on campus and still a need to continue to work hard, to educate our students and give our students tools to make better decisions,” she said.

The university is studying results from a national survey conducted at KU every three years, as well as results from KU’s new AlcoholEDU online course, which is required for all incoming students under 22, and an unscientific student government study.

More specific results from the national survey and online course will be made available in the coming weeks, Roney said.