Most colleges and universities are happy to hold awards for sports, academics, fine arts or even affordability, especially as those attract the best minds in the country. In Wisconsin, however, a university has been named the #1 College for On-Campus Drinking Arrests – an honor that isn’t exactly honorable, and one that puts underage drinking in Wisconsin in the spotlight.
The University of Wisconsin La Crosse was given this dubious title back in March, 2014, replacing the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The arrests for underage drinking generally happen in residence halls and the numbers related to the arrests don’t take into consideration off-campus arrests, nor are OWI citations factored into the overall danger these behaviors encourage.
Wisconsin allows underage drinking while students are at home with parents, but, minors are not allowed to drink with friends on campus. The fact that UW La Crosse ranks number one for on-campus, underage drinking arrests may be a sign that the school is paying more attention to this harmful trend and taking action. It’s important for students and their families to understand the seriousness of the offense and think about how it could affect their futures.
In Wisconsin and around the country, underage drinking is being met with greater consequences as a way of discouraging the behavior. Since preteens and teens who start drinking while living at home with parents tend to continue drinking at college, this focus helps reduce the number of alcohol-related crimes, including drinking and driving. Unfortunately, drinking ushers in a host of other problems, too, so addressing the behavior is important at places that exist for the reason of higher education.
Whether the #1 College for On-Campus Drinking Arrests is named such for its commitment to ending underage drinking or because there are more underage drinking incidents is unclear. The best solution to either problem, however, is discussing responsible drinking behaviors with minors before they start drinking, not just waiting until the behaviors become a problem for us all.