Residential Life works to decrease campus drug use

Letter to the Editor

Since the establishment of the President’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs, we have worked tirelessly with campus partners to provide a collaborative response to substance use and abuse among the student population.

The Department of Residential Life is committed to addressing health and safety concerns impacting our student body, including the issue of heroin and opioid use on-campus. Specifically, the department has:

Launched awareness and informational campaigns outlining the impact and costs of substance use and abuse.

Dedicated significant staff and resources towards engaging students in the halls proactively through the implementation of Learning Communities.

Updated policies and protocols to reflect our values and the severity involved with substance use.

Increased our response time to conduct and policy violations, including cases involving alcohol and other drugs

Continued our efforts to support students in recovery via the Catamount Recovery Program.

Established two Learning Communities requiring students to abstain from substance use and encouraging behavioral change.

Since these changes were implemented, we have seen the percent of students living in halls charged with alcohol, cannabis and other drug violations decrease from 19 percent to 9.2 percent in the past seven years.

From 2016-17 to 2017-18 we experienced a 29 percent decrease in conduct cases involving alcohol, cannabis and other drugs forms.

Moreover, our students have reported a higher level of satisfaction and higher retention rates, particularly those involved in Learning Communities.

UVM police services reports receiving no calls for service or interventions on campus involving or resulting in the discovery of heroin.

However, we remain vigilant and responsive while also asking for the support of all community members in seeking resources and help for individuals struggling with any form of addiction.

As a relatively open campus, we are not insulated from the presence and actions of individuals within and outside of the UVM community seeking to bring drugs or other substances onto campus.

We also encourage ourselves to step up and inform the appropriate individuals of any suspicious activities.

We applaud the Cynic’s attempt to cover an important and serious topic and appreciate the opportunity to offer our insights, responses and data on this matter.


Rafael Rodriguez