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Do you think KU should notify the parents of students caught illegally using drugs or alcohol?

Asked at Kansas Union, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd. on May 6, 2009

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Photo of Spencer Lamborn

“Yes because you have a bunch of these students that don’t really understand about what drugs can do if they take too much of them.”

Photo of Noel Jenkin

“I guess that’s good, they’re being held accountable, but at the same time they’re adults and should be able to act like it.”

Photo of Adam Weinstein

“Yes. If they don’t tell them, they (the student) could get in trouble later on and it could affect their future.”

Photo of Sara Shannon

“If a student is caught illegally using drugs or alcohol off campus, it should be the matter of the legal intervention from the city. If it is on campus, in a residence hall, the police should be notified and it should be handled though legal means.”

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Comments

dweezil222 4 years, 11 months ago

It has nothing to do with who pays the bills or getting someone “in hot water” with mom and dad; its about making the effort to notify someone who can help a student determine if he or she has an addiction.

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If that's the university's primary concern, why doesn't it just provide counseling or require the student to seek it from a community provider as a condition of remaining enrolled? That would provide the solution and still treat students like adults, not children. Once you're eighteen, the law imputes personal responsibility to you -- why shouldn't the university, which exists to produce educated, responsible, functioning members of society? I have no problem with the students being forced to face consequences, but those consequences should involve their own, personal, adult responsibility. Your parents can't coddle you forever.

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alm77 4 years, 11 months ago

I think most of you are missing the point. The spirit of this new notification policy is that if a Freshman is or is becoming an alcoholic who needs intervention, then parents need the tip off. Most new students aren't going to have established the strong relationships in which their peers would be comfortable confronting them about their alcohol abuse.

It has nothing to do with who pays the bills or getting someone "in hot water" with mom and dad; its about making the effort to notify someone who can help a student determine if he or she has an addiction. The people most likely to be able to do that, especially the first year of college, are parents.

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left_of_center 4 years, 11 months ago

Meril said: "Perhaps parents should give pause before sending their children off to a huge college campus that likes to party. Not all children respond to this new found culture so well and get lonely or become insecure."

I would have to disagree that the size of the school is the problem here. I think if you look at the percentages of kids who drink at large schools, compared to smaller schools, the statistics would be very similar. Alcohol is a part of every single college in the nation, no matter the size. KU has experienced tragedies lately releated to alcohol, but I don't think there is any more of a drinking problem here than on any other campus in the nation, regardless of the enrollment numbers.

I think the real issue to be debated here is the "college culture" which encourages drinking as a means of "fitting in". This has been a problem for some time, and it needs to be addressed on a NATIONAL level. While there are college students who do not drink, they are greatly outweighed by those who do, and there seems to be no end in site to this dangerous and viscous pattern.

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RedwoodCoast 4 years, 11 months ago

If there is one thing that college-age kids are good at, it is hiding their habits from their parents. That's just what kids do.

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lawrence_kansas_usa 4 years, 11 months ago

amrose says: But if the student has not signed this form should this really be something that gets told to the parents?

And if the students parents found out about his or her irrespnsible drinking (and that's what we're talking about here....illegal/irresponsible drinking).....what would be the harm in the parents knowing about it? That they might actually get involved and try to at least talk to their son or daughter about alcohol abuse?

Okay..whatever...

amrose also says: I put myself through college, I paid for everything on my own after I left home, including room and board or my apt/house/food bills, etc after I moved off campus, not all students' parents foot the bill.

I didn't say that all students have their parents foot the bill....but many do. And and as result....those parents in particular should know what's going on....and I can't see how it's a "serious breach of privacy or what have you" for the students who pay their own way to have someone they are related to know about their alcohol abuse.

amrose goes on to say: And if your child gets kicked out of school and they're trying to hide it from you, that is a pretty big thing to hide and it will catch up to them

I agree...but that wasn't the thrust of my earlier post....so I'm not sure why you felt the need to bring that up.

And finally, ambrose, you say: Telling Mom and Dad is not going to solve the problem; in many cases, it might instigate the students to continue their behavior out of spite.

Telling the parents won't necessarily "solve the problem", this is true....but it can only help....so your final statement about how "it might make things worse--out of spite" makes me smile.

If the student is that immature....then, okay....so be it.

But at the end of the day.....there is no real harm in having KU inform any alcohol abusing student's parent what exactly is going on.

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trinity 4 years, 11 months ago

well md i didn't figure you did. and i mostly do agree, that those years between say 18-30 are ones of evolution and change, absolutely. quite honestly marriage ought to be delayed until THIRTY FIVE, lol. but anyhoo. i can't think of hardly a darn thing that is 100% black or white, this way or that. and maybe i'm a good example of arrested development, lmaooooooooo-i still love good ol' visceral experience at the ripe ol' age of nearly 50! ;)

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demonfury 4 years, 11 months ago

Wake up people - amrose, d prowess, roe dapple, and all the rest of you who answer before you think. Think about it, in our current judicial system, the answer is no, these are 18+ year olds and legally accountable for their own actions. My suggestion is immediate expulsion for drug use, and underage alcohol use.. KU doesn't have to deal with the offender anymore, and the student has to tell parents themselves. Problem solved, and you send a loud and clear message to the student body. Why does everyone have to make this so difficult.

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amrose 4 years, 11 months ago

Does this not violate FERPA laws? I know that there is form already at KU for a student to enable their parents to have access to confidential information. But if the student has not signed this form should this really be something that gets told to the parents? Shouldn't the school mandate some kind of alcohol information school or an alcohol/drug eval in order to see if the student needs further help as opposed to just saying "we're gonna tell your mommy and daddy on you"? As far as the issue of "whoever paying for school should know what's going on"; I put myself through college, I paid for EVERYTHING on my own after I left home, including room and board or my apt/house/food bills, etc after I moved off campus, not all students' parents foot the bill. And if your child gets kicked out of school and they're trying to hide it from you, that is a pretty big thing to hide and it will catch up to them ... considering you're not seeing bills come in and no mail is arriving at your house from KU anymore among other things. Telling Mom and Dad is not going to solve the problem; in many cases, it might instigate the students to continue their behavior out of spite. Education on the issue is a better way to go.

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tempting_butnothanks 4 years, 11 months ago

How about the parents sign up for notification if their child gets into trouble at school. this way you're not infringing on the students adult rights. this would have to be an agreement between the student, parent & school.

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d_prowess 4 years, 11 months ago

I feel that this is a law issue. If an under 21y/o student is found on KU property drinking, KU should notify the police. Does anyone know how they can get away with not doing that? By not doing this, it seems to be that we have a state entity knowingly allowing illegal activity go on without notifying the authorities. I am maybe missing something here, but i would love for someone to explain how they can do this and not be held liable in some way.
However, if KU really feels the need to play parent to 18y/o students, then I agree with RoeDapple that there should be a form involved in which the student gives their consent, or maybe an opt-out form if you want to have most students fall under this program.

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prospector 4 years, 11 months ago

What? the indoctrinations of "Just Say No", "MADD", and "McGruff" did not straighten all these kids out by now? Shocked!

They are not kids anymore. No Nanny State

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 11 months ago

Well trinity, I didn't mean that as a cut and dried issue with the 25 yrs. I just mean there are changes going on. Add in the hormones on up to 30+, those kids are dealing with the body wanting to reproduce whether it's the smart thing to do or not, and the brain knows that alcohol helps those feelings along, makes them less stressful, etc. Most everything we do is driven my our natural brain's reaction or our bodies, not our active thoughts IMHO.(Our active actions being small compared to the vast processes of just being alive, digesting, etc) I have no idea if science has backed me up on that, the rest is just icing on the cake.

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RoeDapple 4 years, 11 months ago

Can an agreement/waiver be signed at enrollment time so that this can be handled on an individual basis? Just asking............

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lawrence_kansas_usa 4 years, 11 months ago

To me, this idea makes sense in two ways...one, it lets the parents know what their son and/or daughter is up while away at college. And let's face it, if a 19 year old gets caught on campus drunk...he or she isn't likely to tell their folks because he or she knows that mom and/or dad is gonna give them an earful (and they should!). And maybe by getting more involved in their son or daughters life (while at school)....the parent(s) might be able to help curb their son or daughter's alcohol consumption.

Also, the other thing is this...there are a lot of students whose moms and/or dads pay for their tuition....and if I were a parent paying hard-earned money for my son or daughter's tuition and he or she wound up getting kicked out of school for alcohol abuse and I had absolutely no clue about it whatsoever....I would be upset. So I think what KU is doing actually makes sense. They want to simply give parents a heads up on what, if anything, their son or daughter might doing wrong (like being drunk on campus).....so that the parent is (and stays) informed.

I don't think that KU is being intrusive or trying to be "nanny-ish".....they are simply trying to go about giving parents an "FYI" when, and if, their son or daughter does something that could get them killed, arrested, and/or thrown out of school.

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make_a_difference 4 years, 11 months ago

I believe that at the moment of birth, our children begin to grow away from us. It is as it should be. Our job as parents is to provide a life of experiences that help to result in a happy, productive & independant adult.

College is a time of transition...most especially the Freshman & Sophmore years. A time for EXPERIENCING responsible independence. A time for CONTINUING TO LEARN about responsible independence...which I believe is a life long process. Experience has taught me that parenting doesn't end when a child leaves for college. It just continues to evolve. Yes, parental involvement becomes much less active...as it should.

But if a young adult, still a dependant of their parents, is making choices resulting in illegal activities with serious consequences...then those parents need to be made aware of the situation. Not to control or bail out, but to be available for support & guidance. Yes, these are young adults. Their choices. Their consequences. But sometimes young adults don't foresee the consequences of their actions. They are still young & still learning. They can still benefit from more experienced guidance. Parental or otherwise. College students continue to benefit from the guidance, support & influence of their parents and other postive adults/role models around them.

Considering that they are still dependants of their parents, their choices continue to involve their parents.

If a young adult child (truly an oxymoron)...a dependant young adult student...is in need of guidance, how can a parent help if they aren't aware? So yes, I believe that a parent should be notified about illegal or serious situations involving their dependant young adult student.

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trinity 4 years, 11 months ago

i am leaning toward yes on the parental unit notification if the kidlet lives on campus. possibly a first offense could be handled through student services or something, and if the said kidlet gets popped again for an infraction the parents are notified?

and oh, whoa about the under 25 set. i'm bustin' proud of my nearly 22 year old, who has lived on her own and worked her pretty lil' patootie off during her entire time at good ol' KU. she is an extremely responsible young'un! but still has a blast and is a total joy to be around-and that isn't just mama talking! she never did live in a dorm or residence hall or whatever they're called-she made that choice herself. and is a success. all signs point to her remaining a successful person, too. i guess some are&some ain't, eh?

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gsxr600 4 years, 11 months ago

“Yes because you have a bunch of these students that don’t really understand about what drugs can do if they take too much of them.”

— Spencer Lamborn, customer service representative, Lawrence


And because the parents did such a good job teaching their kid before the incident, now the parents knowing will change everything! I'm sure the kids will listen and understand the truth to what their parents are saying.

Haha right....

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Gootsie 4 years, 11 months ago

I have to think that if the parents are paying for their college, they should know how their hard-earned money is being used. Then they can decide if they want to continue funding their child's habits.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 11 months ago

The policy says "known" violations, so kids will be able to drink alcohol as long as they aren't caught. And if parents are 10 hours away and the kids are here, will parents be able to make much difference regarding the drinking of their kids? Will they even care?

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autie 4 years, 11 months ago

Multi wrote:

Kid's minds aren't fully developed at 25, and we turn them loose, calling them adults?

Autie writes: with no citations; You got that right. I don't think we can call them adults until 30. But they get that trial by fire and either make it or don't.

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SpeedRacer 4 years, 11 months ago

No. I was self reliant and paying my own way through college when I was 18. I actually had to get a court order to stop the University I was attending from sending information to my parents.

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sgtwolverine 4 years, 11 months ago

I guess it depends on who's paying the school bills. If the parents are paying the bills, then they should know what's happening on their dime.

I'm not sure that sort of policy would be practical to enforce, though, so: yes. If students are going to be stupid, it's going to be better for them if their parents know about it.

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BABBOY 4 years, 11 months ago

Interesting.

The school would be better off not having this rule. It will just end giving me a chance to sue them when they do not follow the rule.

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sinverguenza 4 years, 11 months ago

The only way notifying parents is going to help is if the parents come and yank their kid out of school and put the kid on house arrest 24/7. Think that's going to happen? In most cases, I think not.

Even if it did happen, it's only a matter of time before the kid has to stand on his/her own two feet. When they've been coddled and policed for 18, 20, 22 years (whatever) and then set free, they're no less likely to go off and experiment than they were before.

The only thing that will really address this problem is real enforcement of alcohol policies/laws (on campus - let KU handle it/off campus - let the police handle it) and a change within the drinking culture. That change will have to come from the ones who are drinking, not the parents back at home. Although talking to your kids about alcohol before you send them off to school will work wonders. Seriously.

I realize it'd be great and save a lot of heartache to keep another needless death from happening. I don't believe this policy will do that.

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coolmom 4 years, 11 months ago

i left home the day of my 18th and then did my senior year alone without help from my family or tried to at least, i think once 18 they shouldnt notify as it is illegal isnt it? they cant see medical records etc...that being said i have a 17, 2-16's and an 11 and i would want to know.

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coolmom 4 years, 11 months ago

i left home the day of my 18th and then did my senior year alone without help from my family or tried to at least i think once 18 they shouldnt notify as it is illegal isnt it? they cant see medical records etc...that being said i have a 17, 2-16's and an 11 and i would want to know.

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jafs 4 years, 11 months ago

Doesn't KU have an obligation to report illegal activity to the police?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 4 years, 11 months ago

I left home 2 days after my 17th birthday. When I got a bit rambunctious one day at highschool the principal called my parents, and got the answer "He doesn't live here anymore, it's his problem". Later I found out that it was the principal's wife that was leaving me mysterious care packages, apparently she had followed me home after work one night.

I'm with T_O_B on this, if it is on campus...

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musbhiorlo 4 years, 11 months ago

no, it's not any of the parents business if 18 or over.

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spacehog 4 years, 11 months ago

Does anybody really think kids will stop drinking if mommy and daddy know about it?

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, I do. Even having been a legal drinker (though I rarely did back then) and married at 18, since it is against the law parents should know. Why? Chances are very good they are paying for the car, insurance, housing and other things that will be affect by these behaviors, not to mention tuition.

My sister died from drugs her first year up up there. Yes, we knew back at LHS she and her other well to do friends were doing them. They sent her away for a while, did other interventions. And it still happened.

Kid's minds aren't fully developed at 25, and we turn them loose, calling them adults? Might as well send them out the door when they can walk, let them forage for themselves so we can just keep breeding without care, see how it goes. It would be a lot cheaper and less emotional that way.

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The_Original_Bob 4 years, 11 months ago

If they get caught on campus, I guess KU can do what they want. Otherwise, obviously no.

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edjayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Only an enforced ban will work. I believe most Greek houses are alcohol free.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps parents should give pause before sending their children off to a huge college campus that likes to party. Not all children respond to this new found culture so well and get lonely or become insecure.

Being accepted is an important part of life which may not take place in a new world of 30,000 students.

Perhaps fraternities and sororities could consider educating members on how to be okay with one or two drinks instead of several? Leaders should be the example.

Let's not condemn drinking instead promote the one or two drink happy hour. When is the last time a hang over was one fun experience?

Is it necessary to be able to consume mountains and mountains of alcohol to be cool or accepted?

Should parents be notified? A very large question. Perhaps if friends and others notice a pattern developing of frequent heavy drinking or heavy use of narcotics. Why not put the question to the parents each semester? Maybe a large KU campus is not the place for new students ....yet?

Perhaps friends could pull problem folks aside and say hey what's up? All of the drinking etc etc is not a good sign. Maybe these folks are feeling lonely and/or left out. Maybe they are not meeting parents expectations?

Again let's not condemn drinking instead promote the one or two drink happy hour. Have fun not hangovers.

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Donnuts 4 years, 11 months ago

That sure would be considered a kill joy or snitch as it is put. I would suppose if one did it should be done with discretion. I personally learned my lesson with alcohol. I would suppose that would depend on what the consequences the individual had to suffer for using were and if it would change.

You see if you just punish someone instead of educate and give them opportunities for developing change in their life you might just be wasting your time.

I don't think that readjustment from abusing alcohol long term is dealt with in a proper sense.

I think balls and functions and the most of which adults gather is based on alcohol and centers around consuming it instead of promoting groups doing other activities. It is a strange phenomenon for someone that lives outside that to watch. I personally don't drink at all or very seldom and don't go to anything that really focuses on it as a way to meet people or celebrate any function or event.

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