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Freshmen allowed to enter DePauw houses on Sept. 22; alcohol concerns raised

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Last year, The DePauw reported that the class of 2015 had four Putnam County Hospital visits in their first week on campus.

Though no first year students have been sent to the hospital, alcohol violations have been issued.

Resident Assistant Stephanie Wethington feels there have been more alcohol violations than in previous years.

“I think the number of alcohol violations is worse than last year because there have been larger groups of freshmen caught compared to individual freshmen,” said Wethington, a returning RA for Lucy Rowland Hall. “It’s alarming because it’s only been the first official weekend.”

The anticipation and nature of the major party weekends, such as the Monon Bell game in November and Little 5 in April still bring major concerns to the administration.

“The total amount of alcohol transports is about half first-year students and half upperclassmen,” Nally said. “We still have upperclassmen going to hospital for alcohol poisoning, which is alarming.”

Nally and Public Safety have analyzed data fron past years to figure out when the most-frequent hospital runs occur.

“In the past five years, the highest number of hospital transports is in September, followed by October and April,” she said.

However, Nally is unclear as to why these months are the most prominent.

“Lots of variables go into this data,” she said. “September, October and April are the most heavily programmed months for student organizations and their activities. These organizations are eager to promote their programs. Lots of registered parties occur sometime in September and October.”

Freshmen are allowed on fraternity property September 22.

“The official date has been moved up compared last year,” she said. “I think that might lead to more hospital visits this semester.”

The misuse of hard alcohol, especially among freshmen, has been a recurring issue on this campus.

“Freshmen want to get intoxicated as fast as they can,” Wethington said. “They think they can hide [hard alcohol] better than beer, but it smells stronger.”

Nally voices her concern about the misuse of hard alcohol on DePauw’s campus as well.

“There’s not a ban on hard alcohol, but the way we’re using hard alcohol is very scary,” Nally said. “All the hospital transports in the past three years have been a result of hard alcohol.”

She also noted that other issues, such as vandalism, sexual assault and injuries are often related to hard alcohol consumption.

The office of Public Safety is hopeful that campus-wide conversation about this topic will increase student awareness.

“There will be a lot of conversation in the coming year how students can impact how hard alcohol is used on campus,” Nally said. “There are initiatives on how students can change their social environment. The Office of Student Life has defined their expectations for the students and hopes to help them develop a way for clear communication about this topic.”

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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