Detox, Sexual Assault and Vandalism on Campus

Slow down everyone, we’re drinking too much. Recent statistics taken by UVM Police Services indicate that we are off to a fast start with detox and alcohol problems. Compare the 32 detoxes we had by October 25th, of 2004 to the 47 we have already this year. According to Larry Magnant, an Attendant at UVM Police Services, we didn’t have 47 affiliate detoxes until February 6th, 2005. “We had a wicked fast start this year, but it has slowed in the past week,” explains Magnant. However, with this slowed detox rate in the past week, came a dramatic increase in drug-related activity. From July 1st – October 25th of 2004, there were only 55 criminal drug related incidents. The same months of this year brought numbers nearing 100 criminal drug related crimes, all of which associated with the school. I asked Police Chief Gary Margolis if he noticed an increase in drinking and detox and within the same breath he replied, “Yes! And I have no idea why?” I also asked him if this led to an increase in sexual assault and vandalism, and while he could not state if there was a direct correlation, he did imply that these things are very often related to drinking of sorts. He did also mention a strong increase in sexual assault this year, primarily in the beginning months of the semester.

Police services received $95,000 in grant money for domestic preparedness through Homeland Security Grants in the last two years. For those of you wondering, domestic preparedness of course meaning belligerent drunk clean-up in the back streets of Burlington. In fall 2003, Police Services received another Department of Justice grant for $375,000 to hire 5 officers to support the exponentially growing population of UVM undergrads. The increase in officers, the increase in students, and the increase in drinking all mixed up equal an increase in detox.

If UVM police or university staff find you in violation they will write you up, you will not pass go and you will not collect $100.00. In fact, you will pay a $100.00 fine, among going through an alcohol screening, and will have to write a two and a half page paper of why you were a bad boy/girl. If you have outdone yourself with the levels of drinking you underwent, you could be taken to jail (most likely not) or detox, where you will be held until you blow a 0.0 BAC (blood alcohol content). One student remarked that, “when they let me out, it was freezing out and all I had was a t-shirt, pants, and sandals and I had no one to call to come pick me up.” He was in detox for over 16 hours and he mentioned that “they wouldn’t let me out until we blew 0s, and they only checked twice, the final time they let me and the two other kids there with me out around six o’clock.”

Fortunately for all you rabble-rousers out there, there is a new policy that is beneficial for everyone. It is entitled the “Got Your Back!” protocol for medical emergencies involving alcohol. The rule reads that any individual who seeks medical assistance on behalf of another student during an alcohol or other drug-related emergency will meet with staff from the Center for Health & Wellbeing to discuss the incident, but will not be subjected to disciplinary proceedings through the university’s judicial process for possession or consumption of alcohol or other drugs. Also, the recipient of medical attention will not be required to resolve the matter through the university’s judicial process if she/he agrees (1) to participate in a health referral with the Office of Drug and Alcohol Services, and (2) to comply with any possible recommendations set forth by that office. What this means to you, the student, is that come the time of need, just call for help, it could mean a friend’s life, so get their back. Gary Margolis explained the importance to me and remarked, “We need to be taking care of safety issues. If students are so busy covering their own asses they got bigger problems.”

So now that you all have a basic background of the rules and regulations about the UVM alcohol policy, I hope you can stay out of trouble. You stay safe Burlington.