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Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2012

KU, Lawrence joining forces to improve students’ off-campus behavior

May 10, 2012

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Kansas University may not just track students’ grades in the future. In some cases, it may track where students had their last drink as well.

Both city and university officials confirmed they’re in discussions to put several new programs in place for the next school year aimed at improving off-campus behavior of students.

The discussions include creating a unique database of drinking-related crimes or accidents throughout the city that could be used by university and city officials to spot problem bars or party houses.

The database is one of three programs city and KU leaders are contemplating for the next school year.

“There is a great deal of promise to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods near the university,” said City Commissioner Hugh Carter, who has been the city’s lead spokesman in the discussions. “From what I’ve seen, the university is ready to really put the resources toward this.”

Carter has been meeting on the issue for the last 10 months with city and KU officials, including the city’s chief of police, KU’s chief of police, City Manager David Corliss, and Tim Caboni, vice chancellor of public affairs for KU.

Among the programs under consideration are:

• A last drink program: When a student is cited for an alcohol offense or is taken to the hospital for an alcohol-related issue, an attempt will be made to gather information about where the student had his or her last drink. The information will be compiled in a database, which leaders hope will allow them to spot trends of whether incidents are stemming from certain drinking establishments or party houses in the community.

Carter said he doesn’t envision the program — at least initially — being punitive toward drinking establishments.

“We want to be proactive so we can educate those establishments about what is going on,” Carter said.

• Back on TRAC intervention: KU and the city are exploring joining the national Back on TRAC program, which is an acronym for Treatment, Responsibility and Accountability on Campus. The program was founded at Colorado State University, and involves local enforcement partnering with university officials to identify substance-abusing students who could enter an intervention program.

Carter said the program would be a big step for both the city and the university because it would involve the city sharing data from its Municipal Court and arrest records with KU, so that the university can see when students are involved in substance-abuse issues off campus.

Carter said the city may require students who are seeking diversions through the Municipal Court system to enroll in the intervention program. The university also likely would have mechanisms to strongly encourage students who have substance abuse violations to enroll in the program.

• A good neighbor program: Carter said he is particularly excited about a proposal that would create a council or group of “student ambassadors” for each neighborhood near the university. The idea would be that the ambassador groups would conduct educational programs with student residents about how to appropriately interact with non-student residents of a neighborhood.

Other universities with similar programs have created a 24-hour hotline for neighborhood residents to call about noise, trash and other nuisance issues. Some programs also include neighborhood specific trash policies, proactive walks where ambassadors look for potential problem areas, and specific policies on how to deal with properties that are repeat offenders.

Caboni said the university is approaching all three potential programs with the idea of helping students rather than sanctioning them for bad behavior. He said the university’s student code is written in a way that — unlike at other universities — makes it difficult for the school to sanction students for off-campus behavior.

“The focus at this time is really how we can engage and support those folks who stumble, instead of using a stick and a sanction,” Caboni said.

Caboni said several logistical details remain to be worked out, but he said he fully expects the programs to be in place for the next school year.

“The chancellor has made it clear we are going to raise that crimson and blue curtain that sometimes separates the university from the community,” he said.

Comments

hujiko 2 years, 7 months ago

What? Do we live in a world where there is absolutely no right to privacy?

Talk about big brother. Take a hike, Hugh.

mdfraz 2 years, 7 months ago

I knew this was coming......

I'm as much for the government staying out of my business as anyone, but exactly what "right to privacy" do you have in a public drinking establishment? And the face sheet of an arrest report is public, so this information has always been accessible (if you wanted to find it). What they are doing now is simply compliing that information.

Now, getting medical records of some sort, or prying into situations where people who may have been drinking at home or another private residence might be a different issue. However, it certainly seems that the thrust of this, and I would say experience would bear this out for most of us, is that binge drinking often occurs in bars or other public establishments.

Not to mention that for roughly half (maybe more) of KU undergrads, the mere fact that they may be drinking is a crime. Whether that's right or wrong is another issue, but as things stand, it is illegal.

hujiko 2 years, 7 months ago

I wasn't talking about bars, I don't frequent them as they can become quite expensive. If you would go back and read the part of identifying trouble areas and targeting "party houses", THAT'S what I take issue with. There is no reason that the university has to be involved with what legal adults do outside of class, if kids are getting cited at their off-campus residence that is between the city and the individual. The university is playing the part of the annoying onlooker at a crime scene that wants to know every bit of information even though it doesn't involve them at all. Even though it is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to drink, most of the college students are above the age of 18, meaning they have rights as an adult to privacy.

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 2 years, 7 months ago

The neighborhood walks to locate problem areas might get some locals in trouble, too.

gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 7 months ago

Fascinating. I assume if the university is willing to accept the role of policing students off campus that they are also willing to take responsibility for when they fail to adequately protect those students as well? For example, if KU monitors a substance abusing minor and, after appropriate action, declares that student clean and sober but the student later dies in a multiple fatality DUI isn't the university opening itself to liability?

JayhawksandHerd 2 years, 7 months ago

That question crossed my mind as well, though I admit I haven't researched similar programs at other schools. It seems like there would be potential for a number of unintended consequences.

begin60 2 years, 7 months ago

Just who do KU officials, who are famous for their wicked lack of honesty and integrity, think they are to set themselves up as the behavior police? In the same way workers expect their employers to stay out of people's off- the- clock and at- home lives, so too should students, with the possible exception of minor-in-possession issues, expect that decent privacy and a hands-off attitude should pertain.

Retaliatory university officials often target people with heavy-handed and punitive sanctions for political reasons or reasons such as personal vendettas in places like KS and MO. You'd think they would at least have the awareness and compassion not to single out workers and students for discriminatory reasons, but the type of unsophisticated folks who live in the lower-Midwest are too unschooled in the law and lack the commonsense to see why this sort of abuse of authority is a problem.

Drinking issues are one thing, especially for those under-age, but this type of approach fits in better with zero-tolerance and school-to-prison discipline methods than any policy likely to have constructive outcomes.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 7 months ago

Okay, I get it. You are the Stephen Colbert of the LJW using hyperbole to make a point. It is really quite good, I know I got a chuckle out of it, especially the part about sanctions for political reasons. Oh, man, can't you just see a professor getting mad at a student in class who has a different take on politics and vowing to follow him to him home and around town to get the goods on him. I will break you, the professor, crows, I will bring you to your knees. Ha! Gotta love it!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 7 months ago

The information will be compiled in a database, which leaders hope will allow them to spot trends of whether incidents are stemming from certain drinking establishments or party houses in the community. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sounds like profiling, or the beginning of it to me. Where is the ACLU on this one? They probally don't care as it is being done by a liberal institution.

Bailey Perkins 2 years, 7 months ago

So basically you will be fine if you do not live/party at any of the top apartment complexes/ dorms (i.e. The Legends, Reserve, The Connection, Naismith and all Hawks Pointe) and not to mention Fraternities.

What students choose to do off-campus should not be monitored or controlled by campus. If the ABC and other facilitators cannot control the 'problem', then everyone else shouldn't be punished/restricted.

To be honest, KU should focus more on the safety of those attending such parties (aka houses/bars) where GHB are a known additive to drinks. That seems a greater concern for students than what/ how much they choose to drink. That is their own business and 'usually' under their own control. GHB...not so much.

Bailey Perkins 2 years, 7 months ago

"There is no alcohol at fraternity parties on campus." Have you ever been to a party? They're typically over-flowing with cheap beer and jungle juice.

Several fraternities even host parties focusing on what is being served or how it's served.

JackMcKee 2 years, 7 months ago

Times sure have changed. My first weekend at KU we had a keg truck from Webbs parked in the driveway with 4/5 taps running all night and a live band.

valgrlku 2 years, 7 months ago

Actually, keg parties have decreased substantially, since the keg registration law took effect several years ago (legal-aged, licensed adult has to register their name and fill out paperwork associated with the keg(s) sale. If the party is busted for underage drinking, the keg registrant is legally liable. Not sure what the exact procedure and penalties are though). Now, the frats buy cases and cases of Natty Light. Ask anyone who has ever worked at a liquor store. We know what's what.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 7 months ago

It'll help prepare these young citizens to cope better with the overstepping scrutiny of the nanny state which will undoubtedly face them in the future. Will the big brother at KU also monitor their students' contaceptive use and sexual activity?

JackMcKee 2 years, 7 months ago

also worst Chancellor ever. Obviously a really bad combination.

kusp8 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh this is hilarious. Somebody will sue to get this stopped and KU will fight it and lose quite a bit of money.

JackMcKee 2 years, 7 months ago

We should model this after the chicken ordinance. These people are experts.

tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months ago

Let them grow up and accept their consequences. They are adults. I do agree that if they are arrested, KU should kick them out.

tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months ago

Ha, ha. No, I have no problem if they drink and have a good time, but if they are going to get into bar fights or drive drunk or steal, they should be out. Maybe we would have fewer greedy, arrogant CEO's that way.

valgrlku 2 years, 7 months ago

I still don't see how this "program" would be enforceable, unless the said violations happened on campus (such as in the dorms, which already has an anti-alcohol policy, I believe), or you're a student-athlete (under much more scrutiny from the school anyway). This is not a private university, which I think generally has some non-academic based code of conduct regulations contract related to continued enrollment that students sign.

It would seem that KU would need every student to sign a similar conduct agreement. If KU has one now, I've never seen or heard of it, and I've been a student for quite some time (albeit not underage or living on campus). Otherwise, the good 'ole "I didn't know that X was prohibited, and you didn't tell me" excuse seems appropriate, and "he said, she said" would be problematic, in relation to "Where did you drink/from whom did you get this alcohol?"

flyin_squirrel 2 years, 7 months ago

Add this to another one of the governmental controls over tax paying citizens. Anyone starting to see a trend here...

flyin_squirrel 2 years, 7 months ago

Agree, and the University wonders why it has a declining enrollment every year...

DayofJ 2 years, 7 months ago

They are worried about what students are doing after school, what about the KU Athletics ticket scandal that went down. Millions of dollars, so why don't they worry about getting everything in-house up to par, before they worry about the students. Who by the way, are help paying their saleries.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 7 months ago

"...proactive walks where ambassadors look for potential problem areas," Oh, I can see this working out real well. Anyone know how Zimmerman's trial is going?

kansasredlegs 2 years, 7 months ago

Anyone else remember Wheat Meet on Campus? ... Remember, the semi with the beer taps on the side of the trailer chilling all those kegs?

I used to think when I was young(er) that when I get older "my generation" will not be as ignorant as the powers-that-be were when in school. But, darn I get proved wrong each and every time this paper discusses drinking and college aged adults. Darn wast of time. Just do gooders feeling good about getting nothing done. The difficult thing to watch is the Sheriff, Police Chief and DA on camera pretending like this is all a good idea when they know that this is just a bunch of BS. Just read the 100, 40 and 25 years ago today columns. Gov'ment and college officials been wasting time and effort on this nonissue for decades.

A better and no cost program would be to invite a bunch of religious groups, the door to door types, to flood the area when outside beer pong tournaments are going on.

Vinny1 2 years, 7 months ago

Just ridiculously stupid.

This stuff has been happening for decades. Who cares? Kids are going to drink somewhere, let them drink at houses they can walk to instead of making them go elsewhere.

This countries view on drinking in general is just insane. There is a reason the US has more problems than other countries worldwide when it comes to drinking. We try to ignore it and shove issues under the rug rather than confronting, educating, and preparing kids for alcohol and what they will see/do/encounter in college.

Its not even just a local thing, its a national view that needs to change.

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