The number of students brought to the hospital by EMeRG has hit an all-time high this academic year, and there are still two months left in the semester.
Last week, several University administrators met with residents of Thurston Hall, the most highly populated dorm on campus, to address the University’s growing concern for student well-being and to clear up any confusion students might have regarding the school’s judicial policies. EMeRG has taken 218 students to the hospital this academic year, as compared to 201 students last year and 168 students in 2005-2006 academic year.
“Thurston Hall has just about half of the number of EMeRGs among freshmen, and it houses about half the number of freshmen,” said Tara Pereira, director of Student Judicial Services. “We are still tremendously concerned, but it’s not like ‘Oh my god, Thurston has 90 percent (of the EMeRGs), and everybody else’s halos are shining’ . it’s across the board.”
Fred Siegel, the dean of freshmen, and Corrinne Farrel, the community director of Thurston, hosted the town hall meeting called “Are the rumors true?” About 100 freshmen attended the event, which featured administrators from SJS, UPD and the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education.
“(EMeRGs) have been increasing across campus … but quite frankly, we’ve had more truly scary behavior that is out in the open . there are more students staggering down the street in public, which is far more scary than a kid just sitting in his room,” Pereira said.
She cautioned students against “adding insult to injury” by trying to talk their way out of violations when confronted.
“Don’t add fuel to the fire,” Pereira said. “Students think they can talk their way out of it, but the University, like every university, has to have standard procedures and protocols, and we have to respond to things in certain ways.”
The meeting also addressed common misconceptions about the violations process, like the belief that the frequency of intoxicated students being sent to the hospital is the result of UPD’s eagerness to do so.
“This is completely false,” said Dolores Stafford, UPD’s chief. “We are doing nothing differently this year than we have in years past. We haven’t changed anything, and we haven’t been given any edicts by anybody to change what we’re doing. We are doing the same thing that we have done consistently.”
Although some students said they feel like UPD is “out to get them,” Siegel assured students that this was not the case.
He said the primary mission of all the campus officials is “keeping the community safe.”
“You might disagree with some of the procedures, but there’s no question of what their purpose is, what their motivation is,” Siegel said.
In reference to Thurston residents, Siegel added that “there is some perception that Thurston is unfairly targeted, and I think that that’s just not so. The fact is there are more people here, so some extra resources have to be put here.”
The administration may show concern about the increased number of students being taken to the hospital, but some students do not seem to view it as an issue meriting action.
“I don’t think Thurston has a problem,” freshman Alexa Grau said. “It’s just the largest freshman dorm, and I think that kids come to college to have fun, and some just go overboard.”