The University of Minnesota Duluth rated as one of the tops in the country for drug and alcohol arrests made on campus, according to a new national survey.
UMD ranked seventh in the study, which also rated Wisconsin as the national front-runner for campus drug and alcohol arrests — University of Wisconsin branches at Oshkosh, Stout and La Crosse finished 1-2-3. Those Wisconsin colleges all had more than 20 arrests per 1,000 students.
UW branches at Whitewater and Eau Claire finished 17th and 18th. The Drugs on Campus study, which appears on the website Rehabs.com, (or at tinyurl.com/kxsr93l), looked at 2011 arrests and sanctions on campuses with at least 5,000 students.
While the numbers lag the current academic term by several years, they come shortly after several cases in which Minnesota or Wisconsin college students either died or were severely injured from exposure to severe cold. Alcohol or drugs are either known or suspected to have played a role in those events.
UMD, the study said, arrested 14 students per 1,000 for alcohol and drug offenses.
UMD campus police said the report is evidence of strict enforcement that makes the campus safer.
“The numbers tell me we’re doing our job out there aggressively enforcing alcohol and drug laws,” said Lt. Sean Huls of the UMD police department. “It’s not surprising; our officers are out there working hard.”
Hannah Keil, a UMD business student who serves as a representative on the Board of Regents, welcomes the strict scrutiny of campus police and doesn’t think the findings reflect poorly on her classmates.
“Being ranked so high on campus drugs and alcohol arrests doesn’t necessarily mean that students at UMD are using more,” Keil said. “But instead, it demonstrates that UMD Police Department and Duluth Police are doing their job. Personally, I feel very safe on this campus and much of that is owed to them for taking drug and alcohol instances seriously.”
Micki Olson, a Duluth resident who attended UMD in the late ’80s, says alcohol abuse on campus has dropped. Her son is a sophomore there.
“From my personal experience. I would say there is significantly less amount of obvious drinking now with my 21-year-old there compared to the house parties and such when I was a student,” she said.
The study’s authors used numbers from the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education and excluded arrests for areas surrounding campuses — only arrests in residences halls or campus-owned buildings were counted.
When the study zeroed in on campus arrests for alcohol, UMD ranked 12th, with Minnesota State University, Moorhead, listed 15th, St. Cloud State 24th and Minnesota State, Mankato, finishing 27th.