Alcohol-related transports see back-to-school spike

The number of students transported to the GW Hospital for alcohol-related incidents during the first week of school increased for a third year in a row.

Thirty students were transported to the hospital for intoxication from the start of this academic year to Sept. 5, a spike from last year, when 23 students went to the hospital for alcohol-related incidents.

But 12 of this year’s transports resulted from calls to EMeRG or the University Police Department – three times as many as during the same time period in the 2010-2011 school year.

During the first week of the 2009-2010 school year, seven of the 13 student transports came from help calls.

The steady rise in the number of help calls for alcohol-related cases is a sign that GW’s “every Colonial counts” message is resonating, Tara Pereira, assistant dean of students and head of the disciplinary arm of the University, said.

“Students who take an active role in caring for a fellow Colonial by acting in responsible and timely ways during a serious situation, such as alcohol overdose, shows courage and leadership,” Pereira said.

The number of help calls for emergencies involving alcohol hit a record high last year, accounting for 34 percent of transports.

Administrators attributed that rise to the University’s alcohol education programs and reformed amnesty policies.

“I hope that students are feeling more comfortable about calling for help when needed and are less worried about ‘getting in trouble,'” Pereira said in March.

After a yearlong overhaul, SJS divided into two new offices this fall: the Office of Civility and Community Standards and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

The split aimed to create a campus judicial system that stresses education as a punishment for common college transgressions, Pereira told The Hatchet last fall, as a step toward mitigating the office’s ongoing image problem.

Pereira also credited Katie Bean, the assistant director of the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education, with crafting initiatives to educate students on drinking responsibly and to watch out for signs of over-consumption.

Bean plans to step down from her position Friday for a similar role at St. Joseph’s University, leaving the office without a leader.

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