GW drug violations increase from last year

GW evicted slightly more students by the middle of this academic year because of drug violations than in the recent past, according to the CORE Survey released by the administration Friday.

The CORE Survey, which is conducted by numerous colleges and universities nationwide, tracks student use of drugs and alcohol. In the fall, GW’s Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education distributed 800 surveys randomly to GW undergraduates. Of the 800 surveys, CADC collected 310 usable ones.

At midyear, 19 students – only three fewer than the total for the entire 1998-1999 academic year – lost their spots in the residence hall system after facing drug possession charges, according to the CORE Survey.

Mike Walker, senior assistant dean of students, attributed the slight increase to national trends. The vast majority of GW drug cases involved marijuana, which is the second most popular drug of choice for college students. Alcohol remains the most popular drug, according to the survey.

In addition to an increase in drug violations, the University noticed a dramatic difference in the number of Student Judicial Services cases. By midyear, 793 cases came across the desk of SJS. For the entire 1998-1999 academic year, SJS heard 1,191 cases. The midyear numbers are high in comparison to totals for all of last year, Walker said.

But he said the unusually high midyear statistic is, at least partially, a result of several cases involving many students. Walker cited the Thurston Hall fake ID bust last November, when numerous freshmen were implicated in creating or purchasing fake identification cards. He also said a Riverside Towers party resulted in about 25 or 30 GW students facing SJS hearings.

The CORE Survey also suggested that GW students are similar to their counterparts in other parts of the country when it comes to alcohol use. About 83 percent of GW students reported that they consumed alcohol within 30 days of taking the survey, compared to about 73 percent nationally, according to national CORE statistics. About 8 percent of GW respondents reported having trouble with police or University authorities because of alcohol or drug use, compared to about 13 percent nationally.

Overall, Walker said he learned that most universities are facing the same obstacles.

Our students aren’t very different from other students nationally, he said.

The CORE Survey also assesses perceptions college students have about alcohol and drugs. About 96 percent of GW respondents said they thought drinking was a central part of socializing for fraternity members, and about 66 percent said the same was true for athletes.

About three-quarters of the students surveyed reported that they believed the social atmosphere on campus promoted alcohol culture.

Walker said this attitude represents common misperceptions about drinking on college campuses.

Students think others are drinking more than they actually are, he said.

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