Alcohol-related hospitalizations at GW are slightly down from early fall last year, according to numbers released by the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education.
According to CADE, there have been six hospitalizations since the beginning of the semester, compared with seven over the same period last year. Meanwhile, the University Police Department reported 15 liquor law violations since Aug. 24, compared with 12 last year. All reported violations this year were referred to Student Judicial Services.
“It’s too early to tell what the numbers mean,” CADE Director Brian Hamluk said. “But we’re glad they’re down, especially considering the larger on-campus population this year. It’s a very good sign.”
Hamluk would not comment on the seriousness of the hospitalizations.
D.C.’s revised liquor law could impact the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations for freshmen this year. After a federal judge put an injunction on underage drinking arrests last May, the D.C. City Council passed emergency legislation that made underage drinking a civil offense for first-time offenders and a criminal offense for repeat offenders. Possession of open containers in public and fake IDs are still criminal offenses.
Hamluk said he did not think the revised liquor law had made much difference in the level of underage drinking.
“Alcohol consumption on campus will remain at the same patterns we’ve seen in years past until the District takes concrete action,” he said.
Hamluk said CADE will continue its efforts at increasing student awareness of drug and alcohol-related issues on campus and referred students to www.gwired.gwu.edu/~cade for more information, including workshop times.
Some students said they believed alcohol consumption has increased.
“I’ve seen a lot more drinking this year,” sophomore Sarah Milam said.
Meanwhile, A.J. and Scott, seniors who declined to give their full names, said that bars had been invaded by hordes of new students.
“I’ve seen about a million freshmen competing to get drunk at this one bar,” A.J. said.
“This one girl was so excited about being able to buy a beer with her fake ID she kept walking all over people’s feet,” Scott added.
Freshmen at Thurston Hall had their own stories to tell.
“They had to bleach the staircase after this one girl threw up,” freshman Tanya Holland said. “It smelled for days.”
“Everyone knows it’s easy to break the law,” said Todd, who declined to give his last name. “Almost everyone went out this last weekend. A girl from the seventh floor won the wet T-shirt contest at Lulu’s.”
“A friend of mine from the seventh floor (of Thurston) got hit with a baseball bat while he was out clubbing,” said a freshman who declined to be identified. “It was bad.”
The corridors in many upperclassman residence halls tell similar stories. At the Aston, which houses sophomores, juniors and seniors, the trash chutes over-flow with the drinking detritus of Friday and Saturday night. One sophomore glanced out his door before hurrying out with two bottle-laden trash bags. “I wanted to make sure UPD wasn’t patrolling,” he said.