Local News

Alcohol-related arrests up at UNC

Posted October 13, 2009

— Alcohol-related arrests are up involving University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students.

Ten students were charged in the 2006-07 school year with being drunk and disruptive and 13 the year after, according to police reports. The 2008-09 school year saw the number more than double to 28 arrests.

"The alcohol citations jumped out at us,” said Sarah Frier, city editor for The Daily Tar Heel.

The Daily Tar Heel, UNC's student newspaper, was the first to look into the alcohol-related statistics.

"We saw an unusual number. We then looked into it historically and got some background,” Frier said.

Alcohol poisonings increase at UNC Alcohol poisonings increase at UNC

Student alcohol poisonings are also increasing among UNC students. Fifty-one cases were reported last school year, up from 28 the year before, according to the Office of the Dean of Students.

"There have already been 23 this year,” Frier said of student alcohol poisonings.

The dramatic increase is due, in part, to Orange County Emergency Services communicating more with the university. However, the school has also responded by trying to offer more alcohol-free events and stepping up law enforcement.

"They have been busting parties a lot more,” UNC junior Shawnee Evans said.

Evans said she thinks the famed Halloween bash and celebrations after UNC basketball games may help contribute to a culture of student drinking on campus.

"I know there are a lot of cases in the hospitals those nights. Maybe it is just the fact that our school is so popular for that reason,” Evans said

Chapel Hill officials successfully scaled back last year’s crowd for the Franklin Street Halloween celebration. About 35,000 people came out to 2008 party, as opposed to more than 80,000 people the year before.

"I’m not somebody who drinks to excess, but certainly there are people here that do that,” UNC junior Mathew Klinestiver said.

Klinestiver has a different solution for curbing alcohol abuse.

"I see it more of a problem that should be addressed culturally. I don't think the drinking age should be 21,” he said.

Dean Blackburn, assistant dean of students, said the university is seeing more students with an established drinking history prior to arriving at UNC. The average age of students first consuming an alcoholic beverage was 16, according to a recent UNC poll.

Blackburn also said that alcohol-related incidents at UNC are lower than the national average. He said that the university is working to change the culture regarding underage and excessive alcohol use.


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  • readme Oct 14, 2009

    Let them drink, and stop wasting my tax dollars enforcing idoitic laws. Arrest them only if they drive drunk, or if they do something they would get arrested for anyways sober, like assault.

  • Hip-Shot Oct 14, 2009

    "I still think it's ridiculous that the drinking age is 21 rather than 18. It may be counter-intuitive, but college students under 21 actually binge drink more due to the illicit nature of drinking. If it was more mainstream, it would take away the "forbidden fruit" aspects of alcohol."

    Exactly. Why is it that it is legal for you to join the military and fight(and die) for your country at age 18, but you have to be 21 to have a beer?

  • csplantlover Oct 14, 2009

    I didn't know that libs drank (too much!) What a shocker.

  • SkepticalGirl Oct 14, 2009

    Another thought on binge drinking - Because underage students can't always get alcohol, it only makes sense that when they can get it they're going to drink as much as they can. Let them buy it legally and in moderation.

  • SkepticalGirl Oct 14, 2009

    They need to go to a 19 year old age limit. That keeps most high schoolers from drinking (well, some anyway) and allows young adults to start making their own decisions without worrying about being arrested for something that will soon be legal for them. The legal age was 18 when I was in high school and most of us lived through it just fine.

  • workingforthosethatwont Oct 14, 2009

    it must be the pressure and stress of a rigorous class schedule, ball games and too many protests to attend. It's tough trying to figure out which one to go to.

  • timothycapwell Oct 14, 2009

    How many were star athletes?

  • findoutthefacts Oct 14, 2009

    I can guarantee that UNC has done their best to skew these figures as much as possible. The drinking problem on this campus is the same as it is everywhere else...they've just done their darndest to keep it concealed.

    That is evident from the dean's comments of trying to not look as bad..."we're not as bad as other places"....

  • wyheel Oct 14, 2009

    Ah the annual "evils of college drinking" article. ho hum.
    I was at UNC when the dorms could have hard liquor parties with student fees, and when the age changed to 21 for drink.
    I find it AMAZING that drinking levels and "abuse" is higher than back then.. we were all lushes!

    This is all playing with statistics so an agenda can be pushed. Bad science indeed.

  • cary1969 Oct 14, 2009

    "I know there are a lot of cases in the hospitals those nights. Maybe it is just the fact that our school is so popular for that reason,” Evans said

    that sure is something to be proud of there....way to go unc!