By Naomi Lugo,
The recently released 2012 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa revealed a rise in crime numbers.
After 27 pages of general information on campus security procedures, outlines of crimes, self-defense advice and other things, the report revealed the number of crimes that took place in spring and fall semesters of 2011.
There was some increase with instances of aggravated assault and burglary, and substantial increases with forcible sex offenses, with 1 reported in 2009 and a jump to 12 for both 2010 and 2011. The larger numbers however, were found with drug and alcohol violations.
Liquor law violations were reported at 524 in 2010 and 719 in 2011, an increase of about 72 percent. Drug-related violations jumped from 238 violations in 2010 to 390 in 2011 for an increase of around 61 percent.
UHM reports every person caught with alcohol or drugs at a party as a violation, rather than only counting the party with drugs and alcohol, according to an article on the Hawai‘i News Now website. “It could be a party of 30 people and then in that case that number would be 30 instead of just one,” Wayne Ogino, UH Chief Campus Security told Hawai‘i News now in Oct.
Paraphernalia is also documented as an instance of drug and alcohol violations. This could account for a rise in numbers, however students are still witnessing and living around the drug and alcohol problem.
Dealing with the issue
Nick Sweeton, associate director for residential life, explained the role of the residential staff on campus, “Our goal is to maintain an orderly community where people can sleep and study, and that right supercedes all the other rights.” The other rights mean socializing and partying in dorm rooms, which can often lead to alcohol and or drug use. Sweeton does recognize a need for balance; however, “That doesn’t mean we don’t value socialization.”
According to Sweeton, there has been more Resident Assistants, or RAs, hired over a five-year period. Also, RAs have been getting better training, which Sweeton believes leads to better enforcement and documentation.
Nick Sweeton outlines the consequences of violations in this audio clip.
As far as what is being found in the dorms and residential apartments, Sweeton said, “Anything other than alcohol and marijuana is rare.”
Affect on students
Students living in the dorms may be the most affected by the problem, and loud parties and people may affect their learning and living experience. “I think so only because there’s nothing else to do for the nightlife around the dorms,” said Andy Thompson, resident of Gateway Dorm, and senior studying marine biology.
Thompson, who formerly studied at the University of Iowa, compared his residential experiences at both schools.
Thompson observed that the alcohol problem at his previous university was not as prevalent. This may be due to frequent campus events for students to participate in, like a sports night once a month. Also, a 19-and-up bar in the community might not have solved the drinking problems with its students, but it gave students a place to go, rather than gather in loud dorm parties.
“Yea, it affects my everyday life,” Thompson said after commenting on the noise and smells that often occurs on “party nights”.