Meeting InformationSTUDENT AFFAIRS AND ATHLETICS COMMITTEE
Friday, January 23, 1998
1:30 - 2:00 a.m.
East Oval Room, The Rotunda
Wilson McNeely, III, Chair
Franklin K. Birckhead
Charles M. Caravati, Jr.
Elsie Goodwyn Holland
Kristine L. LaLonde
Walter F. Walker
Hovey S. Dabney, Ex Officio
REPORTS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS (Mr. Harmon)
- A. Alcohol Issues
Harmon to introduce Dr. Turner and Ms. Grossman; Dr. Jim Turner
and Susan Grossman to report)
- B. Vice President's Remarks
- AGENDA ITEMS
BACKGROUND: Recent data from national research studies and an increasing number of alcohol-related incidents on campuses (here and elsewhere) that threaten students� health and safety, suggest that alcohol consumption and abuse by college students has reached epidemic proportions. For many years alcohol-related injury and illness have been a common phenomenon for University students. The observed frequency and seriousness of the problems seem to be increasing over the past two decades.
Based on public medical, and statistical records, 17 University of Virginia students have died from alcohol-related injury or illness since the 1990-91 academic year, reflecting an average annual mortality of just over 2 deaths per year. The causes of death are primarily accidents (e.g. motor vehicle, drowning, fire, and falls) and suicide (clinical depression is commonly exacerbated by acute alcohol ingestion).
On average, between 10 and 20 students per week are seen in the Department of Student Health and/or the University Hospital Emergency Department with alcohol-related injury or illness. On a typical weekend, the Emergency Department alone will see between 5 and 10 students with a variety of alcohol-related injuries or illnesses. The demographic profile of students visiting the Emergency Department and Student Health indicate that 70% of students with alcohol-related injury or illness are under the age of 21, 60% are male, 60% are Virginia residents, and the vast majority are Caucasian.
In addition, over the course of an academic term, clinicians in the Department of Student Health will diagnose approximately 100 new substance abuse cases. Furthermore, students with underlying psychological conditions commonly have these conditions exacerbated by alcohol. Finally, consistent with national data and reflected in the UVa experience, 65% of women presenting with a new sexually transmitted disease have a recent history of acute intoxication, and over 50% of victims and/or perpetrators of sexual assault were intoxicated at the time of the crime.
Statistics compiled by the Institute of Substance Abuse Studies over the last several years reveal that 45% to 50% of undergraduate students have participated in binge drinking in the preceding 2 weeks, while 72% to 80% of students had reported drinking alcohol in the preceding month. Binge drinking is defined for men by ingesting five or more drinks at one occasion and for women, four or more drinks at one occasion.
Nationwide, studies of binge drinking have documented increased risk of accidental injury, illness, poor academic performance, high risk behaviors, and violence. At the University of Virginia recent studies have found that binge drinking is equally common among all undergraduate classes. Binge drinking is predominantly a behavior of Caucasian students with 57% of binge drinkers at the University being white, 32% Asian-American, and 22% African-American. Binge drinking is 40-50% higher among members of the Greek system than among nonmembers. A significant percentage of both male and female students admit to engaging in sexual activity when they ordinarily would not, or feel as if they have been taken advantage of sexually as a result of binge drinking. In addition, athletes have a slightly greater tendency to binge drinking than the general student population. Finally, University binge drinkers report significantly higher class absenteeism and poor school performance.
DISCUSSION: Alcohol abuse is the number one public health hazard for students at the University of Virginia. To address this problem, a Task Force has been appointed by President Casteen to study the complex issues involved and to develop a specific plan for dealing with alcohol abuse at the University of Virginia.
ACTION REQUIRED: None.
Vice President's Remarks
BACKGROUND: The Orientation Task Force (OTF) was appointed by Vice President Harmon and charged with responsibility for reviewing the University's orientation programs for first year and transfer students. The OTF is reviewing the orientation services at peer institutions and exploring ways this experience can be focused upon the academic life of the institution.
DISCUSSION: The Vice President for Student Affairs will make brief reports on the progress of these initiatives.
ACTION REQUIRED: None.
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