AOD Coalition Report
Statement of the Problem
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that “virtually all college students experience the effects of college drinking—whether they drink or not.” Four out of five students consume alcohol, and about half of college students who do consume alcohol binge drinki. Based on the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 39% of college students use some form of illicit drugs.ii
Alcohol and drug abuse can result in damage to one’s self and others e.g. academic impairment, injuries, dramatic increases of violence, sexual assault, arrests, and health risks, etc.. Each year, high-risk drinking affects college students, families, the campuses that students attend, and the communities beyond the campus (NIAAA, 2010). Unfortunately, the University of Cincinnati is no exception to experiencing the adverse affects of alcohol and drug misuse. Like every college and university across the nation, the University of Cincinnati is concerned about the misuse of alcohol and others drugs on its campus campus.
According to a Spring 2016 National College Health Assessment (NCHA) that was conducted with University of Cincinnati students, 6.8% of students said their alcohol use affected their academic performance in the last 12 months; and a total of 3.2% of students said their drug use affected their academic performance in the last 12 months. Even of greater concern, the 2016 NCHA data reflected below support that University of Cincinnati students have a higher actual and perceived use of alcohol and other drug use when compared to national NCHA data. The data also reflects that University of Cincinnati students are engaging in binge drinking at a rate that is more than twice the national average.
This risky behavior is reflected in student conduct numbers at the University of Cincinnati as well. For the past three years, student conduct numbers demonstrate an increase in alcohol and drug misuse and abuse by University of Cincinnati students. During the 2017-2018 academic year alcohol charges were up 7% in comparison to 2016-2017 and drug charges have increased 40% in comparison to 2016-2017. The continuous increase in alcohol and other drug violations has had a direct impact on students, the university community, and the City of Cincinnati.
After recognizing the impact the alcohol and drug misuse and abuse has had on our community, in the 2016-2017 academic school year the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the Student Wellness Office partnered to develop standard alcohol and other drug sanctions for students found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Although great strides have occurred, many opportunities for growth still exist. In order to reduce the untoward effects of alcohol and drug misuse at the University of Cincinnati, a comprehensive and joint effort to promote a healthier and safe scholarly environment was developed.
The Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition (the Coalition) was charged with exploring factors that contribute to the misuse of alcohol and other drugs in our community. To achieve this objective, the Coalition was divided into three subcommittees focusing on the following areas:
- Policies and Procedures regarding alcohol and other drugs;
- Prevention and Education; and
- Assessment and Inventory.
The Coalition was comprised of students, faculty and staff from across campus, and representatives from multiple agencies in the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Members self-identified subcommittees they wanted to serve on during the process, and some members served on multiple subcommittees. Subcommittees were tasked with identifying subcommittee chairs, scheduling meetings, assigning areas of review and research, and compiling information gathered.
Given the desire to ensure that the “student voice” was heard, Co-Chairs Aniesha Mitchell and Brandy Reeves attempted to have at least two representatives serve on each of the three subcommittees.
Subcommittees met throughout the fall and spring semesters, and subcommittee chairs assigned tasks for individual members. After each subcommittee gathered information assigned to its members, the chairs of each subcommittee drafted a written report that consisted of recommendations to university leadership on ways the university and outside community could partner together to address alcohol and other drug misuses.
In late January to assist the Coalition in its efforts, nationally renowned health educator and promotion consultant and specialist Dr. Eric Davidson of Eastern Illinois University visited the University of Cincinnati. During his visit Dr. Davidson met with various constituents and departments such as students, counselors, athletics, university public safety, resident education and countless others. After gathering information about our community and its needs, Dr. Davidson compiled his findings in a report and provided 35 recommendations on ways to address alcohol and other drug misuse and abuse at the University of Cincinnati by implementing and continuing national best practices. Subcommittees used this report to better guide them on the needs of our community.
Based on each subcommittee’s findings, each subcommittee provided recommendations to leadership on behalf of the Coalition. These recommendations, and the rationale for including them, were captured in a report written by the chair of its respective subcommittee.
Once all reports from each subcommittee with recommendations were submitted, the co-chairs of the Coalition compiled each subcommittee report, and solicited additional information from subcommittees, when needed. After this process was completed, the three subcommittees submitted a total of 38 recommendations.
Prioritization of Recommendations
The co-chairs communicated to the members of the Coalition that each of the recommendations made by all subcommittees had merit, and each would be presented to the University administration for consideration. To aid the administration’s decision-making process, recommendations were ranked by the co-chairs of the Coalition using the feedback they received from chairs of the subcommittees.
- Financial support to update sanctioned early intervention programs to evidence-based, best-practice programs such as BASICS and CASICS (including cost of program and cost to pay staff to facilitate).
- Mandate AlcoholEDU for all incoming students. Students who do not complete AlcoholEDU will have a registration block and/or be prevented from accessing their grades until they complete it.
- Increase substance free late night programming
- Create an umbrella policy for AOD to be published on a website that has resources and support services for AOD use. This will ensure consistent policies with students and student orgs
- AOD Transparency: Campus partners will meet annually each summer to review and discuss AOD trends and numbers associated with AOD incidents and survey data
- Obtaining institutional support to fund NCHA with a goal of receiving 20% response rate
- Programming for the first six weeks of classes to occur through homecoming promoting AOD prevention with low risk strategies
- Improve town gown relations via the continuation of the AOD Coalition
- Putting indicators on the Bearcats ID card to clearly indicate a students age
- University Event Registration for programs, meeting, and events involving alcohol
- Relationship with UCPD and CPD when documenting UCPD incidents
- Additional programming and education on the following programs: amnesty, medicinal marijuana, handout and apps in orientation, Catch the Party Buzz
- Implementation of a GAMMA chapter at UC
- Alcohol Free Tailgating
- Developing a Collegiate Recovery Community
The goals of this subcommittee were the following:
- Identify list of local ordinances and university policy related to alcohol and other drugs
- Identify and make recommendations to mitigate incongruent policies
- Identify and make recommendations to mitigate gaps in policies
- Explore how policies are enforced and make recommendations surrounding enforcement
- Analyze the messages sent to UC community by current AOD policies and practices
Common themes that occurred while reviewing assessment and inventory consisted of the following:
- Inconsistent messaging between policies in tone and terminology. For example (terminology), studyabroad uses “excessive drinking” and the SCOC uses “public intoxication”/ (tone) FSL current policyfocuses on educating on the impact of the behavior and the code focuses on outlining behavior thatwould violate policy.
- Policies that exist but are not enforceable. For example, FSL policy has very detailed policies (such asstating that students need to only drink their own alcohol at parties) that students and UCPD state aredifficult to enforce.
- Lack of policies with clear guidelines (i.e. student orgs and study abroad)
- Lack of wellness-focused/ proactive policies and procedures (please see recommendation 7)
- Anticipation that cannabis legalization could require additional education around federal law, which stillconsiders cannabis to be an illicit drug
- Relationship with CPD in relation to alcohol and AOD (see recommendation 11)
Recommendations suggested as a result of the review are the following:
- Create an umbrella policy for alcohol and drugs for students. All policies surrounding alcohol anddrugs should use similar terminology as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and should refer backto the Student Code of Conduct as the guiding policy for alcohol and drugs.
- Develop more consistent policies for all student organizations. SALD, FSL, SCCS, and StudentGovernment should meet to draft more consistent policies for student organizations, fraternities, andsororities. We recommend that, continuing with the theme for umbrella policies, that there be overallAOD policies that apply to all student organizations and then policies that may more specifically applyto fraternities and sororities
- Explore an event policy for the university. Explore development of consistent university alcohol eventpolicies in areas around responsible beverage service, non-alcohol beverages, etc. Recommend thispolicy would apply across faculty, staff, and student organizations.
- Create a more enforceable AOD policy for student organizations. Fraternity and Sorority Life,SALD, Student Government, SCCS, student leaders in the Greek community, and UCPD should meet toshape an enforceable AOD policy for their communities.
- Bearcat Card IDs more clearly indicating age. To assist with enforcement of alcohol policy,recommend that Bearcat IDs either turn a different way when a student turns 21 or have birthdate onthem.
- Create a more robust AOD policy for study abroad. The Study Abroad Office should work with theDean of Students, General Counsel, and Student Conduct and Community Standards to develop AODpolicies for when students are abroad that set clear expectations and refer back to the Student Code ofConduct.
- Require mandatory AOD education for students prior to coming to campus. All students should berequired to complete AOD education through an online course such as Alcohol EDU before the end oftheir first semester on campus. Students should be held accountable for completing Alcohol AOD vianot being able to see grades until completed or service indicator. Work with Heidi Pettyjohn to explorethis option.
- Develop a consistent AOD curriculum for first year students. The Learning Commons and theWellness Center should partner to have a consistent curriculum surrounding alcohol and other drug usein every FYE course.
- Consider wellness campaign for faculty and staff targeting AOD. Recommend start of a campaignpromoting faculty and staff AOD Wellness similar to tobacco free campaign, including message fromleadership promoting AOD self-care for faculty and staff.
- Benchmark surrounding state cannabis legalization. Student Conduct and Community Standardsshould benchmark with universities in states where cannabis is legalized surrounding policy education toanticipate potential upcoming legalization.
- Develop relationship with CPD for documenting off-campus AOD incidents. UCPD should workwith Cincinnati Police Department to create a process for how UC will be notified of AOD incidentsthat occur outside of the area UC patrols.
- Build relationships with community partners. UC, through the efforts of UCPD, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and the Division of Student Affairs should continue to build relationships with communitypartners regarding impact of student life around campus.
The goals of this subcommittee were the following:
- Examine the current status of prevention and education practices related to alcohol and other drugs oncampus;
- Explore ways to bolster current offerings; and
- Identify opportunities to fill gaps where they exist.
Common themes that occurred while reviewing prevention and education consisted of the following:
- Lack of utilization of existing first-year programming as a vehicle for prevention and education.
- Missing early prevention opportunities during orientation and the first four to six weeks of classes in thefall which have been shown to be a vulnerable period of time for matriculating first-year students bysources such as PBS, Business Insider, The US Department of Education, and the National Institute onAlcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Lack of late night programming including but not limited to; food and activity offerings in commonspaces such as the Tangeman University Center including movies, specific programming in the latehours in residence halls, late night dining options at dining halls on campus, information or activity fairsfor student organizations along Main Street to allow students to explore involvement on campus, andother options developed by student focus groups through the Student Wellness Center and other strategicpartners.
- Need for additional financial support for staffing and programming.
- Necessity for prioritization of AOD prevention and education focus across offices and departments andto include all faculty and staff facilitated by either existing programs such as Be Well UC or throughpartnership between Office of the Provost and Division of Student Affairs and Counseling andPsychological Services named similarly as “Healthy Campus Campaign.”
- Need for new programming across the board.
Recommendations suggested as a result of the review are the following: Programming, Financial Support, Assessment, and Policy.
- Create touchpoint between Student Wellness Center and/or AOD staff and guardians of students duringsummer orientation to emphasize importance guardian’s role in discussing dangers of alcohol and drug use during college and educating guardians on period of vulnerability during first four weeks. Specific student populations to consider prioritizing contact to include but not limited to: athletes, students interested in Greek Life, student living off-campus, and other high-risk populations.
- Mandate inclusion of AOD education and prevention information within Bearcats Bound Orientationapplication to include information about amnesty policy and work collaboratively with BBO Office to direct parents to the application during orientation during periods of time they are separated from students to suggest they review information on AOD education and prevention as well as amnesty policy.
- Directive from Vice President Merchant or Office of the President to focus efforts of all offices oncampus on prioritizing marketing for and execution of AOD prevention and education programmingduring first four to six weeks of fall semester.
- Implementation of any or all of the following programmatic initiatives
a. Addition of late night programming
b. Inclusion of training on implementation of AOD programming within residence halls forResident Assistants. Focus to include importance of AlcoholEdu requirement for first-year andtransfer students
c. Addition of AOD prevention and education information to campus tours
d. Maintenance of page on Student Wellness Center website to serve as AOD resource webpage
e. Creation and maintenance of AOD Ambassadors program including rigorous training
f. Creation and maintenance of Greek and athletic ambassador programs as extension of AODAmbassadors
g. Addition of social norming campaigns within broad campus social media and marketing strategies
h. Creation and maintenance of a Collegiate Recover Community on campus
i. Creation and maintenance of a Town-Gown Coalition with focus on AOD prevention andeducation potentially overseen in partnership between Provost Kristi Nelson and Vice Presidentof Student Affairs Debra Merchant
j. Requirement that faculty, staff, and Greek council members complete training on AODprevention and education resources on campus
k. Mandate for AOD prevention and education programming in Learning Communities andresidence halls each semester
l. Financial support to update sanctioned early intervention programs to evidence-based, best-practice programs such as BASICS and CASICS (including cost of program and cost to pay staffto facilitate)
m. Designation of alcohol-free tailgating area in cooperation with the Alumni Association in managing the tailgating “grid.” Point people could be Jen Heisey or Heather Peña to start.
n. Promotion of TIPS Training for local establishments to enable them to identify intoxicatedindividuals and intervene. Student Wellness Center Peer Educators to make the first point ofcontact and suggest benefits to establishments that are willing to complete the training – likeadvertisements in The Commode Chronicles in Steger or The News Record (requiringpartnership), etc. that DO NOT reference alcohol specials but do suggest the establishments aresafe spaces with trained personnel – that could be a good start. https://www.tipsalcohol.com
o. Incentivize students being “good neighbors” during parties through partnerships with officesoffering perks such as Parking Services and a “free parking for a month” offering for studentleaders of Greek organizations who host parties with no noise or conduct violations and who areinspected for litter, etc. following functions and cleared as being “clean.”
- Increase funding for AOD programming specific to AOD presentation and education beyond onedesignated person.
- Increase funding for Peer Educators in the Wellness Center so they can host late night programing.
- Suggested inclusion of AOD question(s) in graduation surveys for the purpose of assessing studentawareness of AOD programming available on campus, to gauge behaviors during college in retrospect,and to garner ideas for future programming that might have supported more healthy choices if it existed.
- Mandate and financially support analysis of existing AOD programming and sources of funding acrosscampus to form lexicon to guide decision-making regarding programming.
- Mandate and financially support administration of NCHA every two years. For web-based survey costwould be $0.43 per survey participant as an ACHA Institutional Member with additional cost of $125for reminders to non-responders and $125 for a customized thank you message plus other optional add-ons. Cost for 20,000 student respondents (aspirational conjecture) would be $8,600. Cost to potentiallybe covered by budget allocation from several departments with stakeholders to be determined.
- Mandate inclusion of AOD prevention and education planning in division and institutional strategicplans. Each division or department head or Vice President could lead the charge and establish buy-in.This would take education to several departments on the negative impact of AOD use on campus andhow important inclusion of this education can be in serving the interests of each group. Perhaps thiseducation is something the Peer Educators from the Student Wellness Center could do.
- Mandate faculty include AOD prevention and education resources in syllabi.
- Mandate AlcoholEdu Continuing Ed for second-year students.
- Implement safeguard to ensure AlcoholEdu completion by students through registration and/or financialaid blocks in Catalyst in partnership with the Office of Registrar and/or Office of the Bursar incooperation with Alejo Delgado.
The goals of this subcommittee were the following:
- Identify and collect alcohol assessment efforts from across the campus community;
- Compile what types of inventory and data already exists; and
- Identify areas of opportunity for further assessments and data collection/sharing across the campus.
Common themes that occurred while reviewing assessment and inventory consisted of the following:
- Much of the current assessments are done to analyze trends rather than inform preventative work, forexample CAPs Alcohol Use and Impact Report. This is important to close the loop of assessment.
- Some units rely on a few questions that happen to rely within larger assessments rather thanassessments specific to the topic, for example RED EBI and Greek Life Survey.
- There are several “known” assessments that the university does not participate in, such as COREsurvey, OCTA – Town Gown.
- Many inventories are held “in-house” (within individual departments or units) and not shared withcampus partners in a constructive format
- Campus partners have “anecdotal” data but nothing formalized, for example knowing based on reportof Community Coordinators that “X residence hall has a ton of AOD issues”, but not using data toback that up.
- Many opportunities exist for cross-unit collaboration with the Alcohol Coalition driving thoseconcerted efforts
Recommendations suggested as a result of the review are the following: New Opportunities for Assessments and Inventories, Sharing of Current Collected Data, and Recommended Method for Evaluation and Communication.
New Opportunities for Assessment and Inventories
- NCHA – administer NCHA every two years with goal of 20% student response rate in partnership withinstitutional research.
- UHS and University Hospital - there is no current data collected by UHS or University Hospital thatspecifically tracks students receiving services due to alcohol or other substance consumption. Questionsthat would need to be asked center on the reliability of obtaining this data, HIPAA concerns, and howoften this data is reported back to the coalition.
- Event registrations - partnering with SALD and FSL to determine the efficiency and efficacy in trackingdata with event registrations that involve alcohol. Questions needing to be asked would include: is therea limit to amount of alcohol a group can register? What happens with that data after it is reported? Whatrisks are involved?
Sharing of Current Collected Data
- EBI (Resident Education & Development) - a residential survey completed every other year thatincludes a couple of questions around a students’ perception of the ways in which alcohol impactstheir residential experience.
- Conduct (Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards) - data is collected around alcoholconduct cases and outcomes.
- UCPD (University of Cincinnati Police Department) - data around call types are collected. UCPD hasexplained that they could run reports if they know specific dates/times/locations.
- Athletics (Contact unknown) - UC Athletics educates student athletes as well as holds themaccountable to alcohol and drug violations through their program.
- CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) - collects aggregate data on service usage as well asyear-to-year trends.
- DOS referrals (Dean of Students Office - CARE team) - at this time CARE collects data on studentreferrals however whether or not alcohol or other substances are involved would have to bedetermined.
Recommended Method for Evaluation and Communication
- Every summer, aforementioned offices come together to discuss data they will pull and what to dowith that data.
- Investment in new inventories with associated action steps and follow-up
- Intentional AOD related data points/questions added to existing assessments
- Bring SCCS, Wellness, and RED to meetings with DOS, Assistant DOS, and UCPD to share trends
January 22, 2018
Consultant: Eric S. Davidson, Ph.D., MCHES, CSPS
University of Cincinnati Representatives:
- Aniesha Mitchell, Director, Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
- Brandy Reeves, Director, Student Wellness Center, coalition co-chair
- Bob Mangine, Senior Associate Director of Sports Medicine
- Maggie McKinley, Executive Sr. Associate Director of Athletics
- Jessie Mills, Asst. Athletics Dir., Dir. of Professional Readiness
- Brandy Reeves, Director, Student Wellness Center
- Sarah Blanton, ATOD Program Coordinator
- Tara Scarborough, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services
- Randy Cook, Counselor, Counseling and Psychological Services
- Mandy Shoemaker, Assistant Director, Honors
- Zachary Shirley, Director, Fraternity and Sorority Life
- Trent Pinto, Director, Residence Education and Development
- Juan Guardia, AVP and Dean of Students
- Lt. David Hoffman, UC Police Department
- Trent Pinto, Director, Resident Education and Development
- Zachary Shirley, Fraternity and Sorority Life
- Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins, African-American Cultural Resource Center
- Nicole Ausmer, Student Activities and Leadership Development
- Brandi Elliot, Ethnic Programs and Services
- Angie Fitzpatrick, Women’s Center
- Amy Schlag, LGBTQ Center
- Terence Harrison, Veteran’s Programs and Services
On Monday, January 22, Eric S. Davidson visited the University of Cincinnati, meeting with representatives from several units and departments in order to conduct an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of the UC comprehensive alcohol and other drug program.
Bystander Intervention Approach
Many of the student affairs-related professionals we met with throughout the day shared the strong student developmentally-based philosophy and approaches used when interacting with students. One of the interventions discussed quite frequently was the bystander intervention approach, which trains and teaches bystanders to intervene in situations of alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, etc. This promising approach appeared to be advocated by many throughout the day.
Campus Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force, Community Mobilization & Collaboration
All in all, many of individuals the consultant met with either were already involved in working to address AOD issues either through their involvement with the AOD Task Force or their regularly performed job duties and responsibilities. The grass roots formation of the task force, as well as the broad participation of a variety of offices, mainly from within the division of student affairs, shows a shared perception of need and responsibility in addressing these issues. Prior to the task force, several units appear to have had working relationships which have added to the functionality and success of the task force.
Cincinnati appears to be a vibrant city undergoing renewal and new development. Throughout the day, many interviewees commented on the opportunities for students to engage with the community through educational, recreational, volunteer, and social activities. While some of these activities include or focus on substance use, many do not.
Early Alcohol and Other Drug Intervention
As with most other campuses, early intervention at the University of Cincinnati frequently occurs through the housing and law enforcement systems when students are found in violation of an alcohol-related policy. Policy violators are then sent through the judicial system. This system is intended to provide consistent sanctioning to those who enter this system. It appears that the student conduct system has recently undergone several changes and modifications, which are being viewed favorably by the campus. These changes view a stronger educational and restorative justice approach.
Existing Alcohol and Other Drug Educational/Prevention Programming
The campus has a fairly long history of offering educational and preventive programs addressing substance abuse. In addition to on-line interventions, a myriad of programming approaches including peer education, alcohol-free social activities, educational lectures, presentations, and safe party planning kits appear to be implemented through the Wellness Center. Furthermore, ownership of programming is distributed throughout the university, as the Office of Residence Education, University Police, Intercollegiate Athletics, Counseling and Psychological Services, and other units appear to provide programming. Educational programming appears to strongly target those students who are under the age of 21 and/or are living within the on-campus Residence Education and Development facilities.
Existing Alcohol and Other Drug Intervention and Counseling
Counseling for a variety of behavioral health issues is readily available from the university counseling center. The staff members there appear quite experienced and qualified to offer the wide array of behavioral and mental services provided to students. Among the staff is at least one certified additions counselor/treatment specialist who usually sees students who present with substance abuse concerns, or if such students see other clinicians, provides support and consultation through case review. Members of the counseling center assist the wellness center in educational programming; the two offices appear to have strong and positive relations. Being aware that the center’s physical location may be a barrier for access, the office conducts outreach and screening events to help students identify potential problems, including substance abuse.
With its high academic rigor and strong academic culture the collection, analysis, reporting and use of assessment and evaluation results is a key want and necessity at the University of Cincinnati. Through the leadership of the Wellness Program, the university has administered the National College Health Assessment for several years. The NCHA is regarded as one of the best tools for student health data collection, and is a practice that the consultant highly endorses. Other offices (e.g., University Police, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Intercollegiate Athletics, Employee Assistance Program) appear to collect data regarding alcohol and other drug issues.
Unlike many of the athletic departments the consultant has had the opportunity to meet with, the University of Cincinnati Intercollegiate Athletic Departmental policy maintains a uniform and consistent alcohol and other drug policy administered through the unit’s central staff. Coaches may discover and report policy violations, but generally do not determine or administer sanctions. This allows consistency of enforcement within the athletic program; a student athlete from one team is just as likely to get the same consequences and sanctioning as another team’s student who commits a similar offense. The department has access to significant resources, including its’ own internal psychologist. Student athletes will typically meet with this individual for basic needs, and for more advance needs are referred to the Counseling and Psychological Services unit. Student athletes undergo face-to-face educational programming to cover the required NCAA policies and requirements regarding substances. While the unit administers the MyPlaybook on-line substance abuse educational program, the interviewees question the efficacy of the program with their students. The interviewees admitted preferring face-to-face programming. The program is currently in the process of piloting a “motivational behavioral modification“program which will focus on brief motivational enhancement techniques and mindfulness; this is being administered through a doctoral student who was a previous student athlete. The unit is also partnering with the Wellness program to administer StepUp Bystander program, and are planning to send representatives to the StepUp Conference in May.
Law Enforcement Approach
Law Enforcement is considered a primary component of a comprehensive substance abuse prevention program. With a campus the size of University of Cincinnati, substance abuse is one of many issues the department must regularly handle. Officers from the department indicate that many of the officers prefer to use the least intrusive sanctioning method, and when possible, prefer to refer students in violation to Student Conduct and Community Standards.
Being that the greater majority of enrolled students live nearby off-campus, a positive relationship with municipal law enforcement and emergency services/fire department is essential. This relationship appears positive as when Cincinnati officers respond to calls clearly involving college students, UPD is often automatically dispatched to assist. A similar arrangement and relationship appears to exist with Cincinnati Fire Department/EMS.
On-Line Educational Programs
AlcoholEdu, the on-line alcohol education program, has been required of all new incoming students since at least Fall 2012. Additionally, new students are also required to complete the Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault. These programs are considered industry leaders of on-line education of health and wellness related topics. Intercollegiate Athletics also uses the MyPlaybook on-line educational program available through the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness. The consultant noticed that the campus had not accepted these programs as a simple “check in the box” leading to decreased efforts in other areas to efforts to reduce or eliminate alcohol and other drug use. While not a magic bullets by any means, these interventions are likely making a contributive impact since they are being administered to a large portion of the population. Additional research and evaluation as to how they may be specifically contributing to a change in the UC culture is encouraged.
The institution exercises its right to notify parents of substance abuse policy infractions. This has been found to be an effective strategy on some campuses. Most research on this policy intervention is quite old, and it may be worthwhile for University of Cincinnati to consider conducting some assessment and evaluation regarding parental opinion and attitude toward this type of intervention, student opinion on this intervention and impact on their behaviors, as well as if students who receive notification are more or less likely to violate policies in the future.
Problem Acknowledgement Problem
Several components within the university appear to understand that alcohol and other drug use is a substantial problem across the institution. There is an acknowledgement that this issue impacts all aspects of the organization/community from problematic behavior, academic success, co-curricular success, town gown relations and recruitment/retention. As evidenced by this consultation visit and the task force’s own self study, there appears to be a willingness by major players to look at the problem and possible solutions.
Student Conduct and Community Standards
During the day, many interviewees reported recent changes and modifications within student conduct protocols and processes which were viewed positive. The unit appears to be engaging in best and current practices which move beyond simply sanctioning through fines and punitive measures. The changes include an amnesty program which has been favorably viewed by many within student affairs, and a restorative justice approach.
Wellness Center Staff
Under the current structure, has a director of the Wellness Center appears to be highly competent and qualified. The consultant has had several opportunities to interact with Ms. Reeves and believes that she will rise to a distinguished status within the health promotion in higher education field. Since assuming responsibility for the health promotion unit, Ms. Reeves appears to have spent significant time building and developing her staff. These individuals appeared knowledgeable and eager to contribute to the institution. In interactions with other interviewees, it appears that the unit’s staff members have positive relations with others throughout the institution and are also viewed as professional and competent.
Administrative Restructuring and Support
While many professionals overseeing the alcohol and other drug program often desire their chief senior administrator to take a more active role and voice, in reality this is difficult to achieve and such responsibilities fall onto the chief student affairs officer. Throughout the day, the general perception of those interviewed was that senior level administration was generally quiet on the issue of substance abuse; seldom discussing or addressing it publicly. A common theme was that members of the senior level administration generally only spoke of budget and budget related issues. For substance abuse efforts to be truly effective, support from senior level leadership must be perceived and witnessed by the campus community.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the former National Higher Education Center promoted a campaign directed at Senior Level Administrators called, Be Vocal, Be Visible, Be Visionary: Recommendations for College and University Presidents on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention. This campaign presented recommendations for senior level administrators by their addressing a broader approach to student alcohol abuse which included understanding of how collegiate substance use was driven by societal factors.
A great example of a university president demonstrating strong leadership can be found in the first video of the College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives video series, Lessons Learned at Frostburg State University.
Existing Alcohol and Other Drug Educational/Prevention Programming - General
A plethora of educational and promotional programming is available through a wide variety of offices, departments, student organizations, etc. As with many campuses, cataloging all educational activities could be quite the chore. If University of Cincinnati is like most other campuses, a large number of programs being delivered are probably untested, or worse, have been evaluated and have had little to no degree of efficacy. In some situations, some well intended programming may be counteracting messaging and behaviors other strategic educational and strategic programming is attempting to influence.
It will be important for the campus community to determine what the primary goals and objectives are with its’ comprehensive substance abuse prevention program. Once these are determined, the campus will need to determine key strategies, programs, goals, and interventions it will enact to positively affect the desired outcomes. Strategic planning is an important component to this process and one the Task Force should take on. Strategic planning is not just a one-time process, and therefore, the Task Force should evolve into an ongoing coalition which will help provide oversight of the plan, management and implementation of strategies, accountability of the work, etc. The Biennial Review Process can help stimulate the strategic planning process. The consultant also recommends that University of Cincinnati consider instituting the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s Strategic Prevention Framework Planning process to guide strategic planning. Some on campus, as well as involved with the task force, may be familiar with this process, as it appears that University of Cincinnati may was a grant recipient through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Office of Prevention and Wellness in approximately 2013.
The best resource to determine which strategies, programs, interventions, and policies would be best suited for the University of Cincinnati campus would be the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s College Alcohol Intervention Matrix (AIM). This tool, available at: https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/collegeaim/
Once determined what strategies, programs, interventions, and policies, it might help larger efforts to ensure that as many parties conducting prevention programming be on the same page. Doing so may allow resources, staffing, and funding which have been used for less effective programming to be pooled for efforts which may be more successful.
Alcohol and Other Drug Problem Identification and Intervention Programming
Throughout the day there was a strong call for identifying and intervening with those students experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use. It is clearly evident that the staff members of UC are genuinely concerned about their students’ welfare and future. Regarding substance use, one particular theme presented several times concerned the identification of students with addiction. A handful of interviewees admitted believing they personally did not possess the knowledge to identify signs and symptoms, as well as the tools to intervene with students with abusive behaviors or addictive disorders. Additional concern was raised regarding how to address concerns in culturally competent manners with students from different identity groups and cultures.
Training and outreach covering knowledge regarding signs and symptoms and skill training regarding how to approach students suspected of substance abuse through Counseling and Psychological Services and the Wellness Center may help alleviate these concerns. If staffing is an issue, this may present opportunities to partnership with graduate academic units who require their students to complete some form of outreach/training/presenting requirement.
Alcohol and Other Drug Intervention and Counseling
The center’s physical location was indicated as a barrier preventing students from accessing services several times throughout the day. While generally applauded for their work, a few interviewees communicated concerns regarding support and services for students who had recently admitted to themselves to having an addictive disorder, who wanted to stay in school, and then relapsed; they felt that more should have been done to support such students. Others commented that there simply were not enough counselors available to meet need.
Some campuses overcome the geography issue by placing mental health practitioners and their offices within residence hall settings. These individuals see students residing in that particular hall or hall complex, participate in the daily life of the hall, participate in hall staff meetings to provide insight and consultation, etc.
In light of the successes of the amnesty program, it appeared that a number of residents may not be aware of the policy, or what factors the policy provides amnesty for.
It will be important that additional marketing and promotions be undertaken so that students are aware of the program, but more importantly, what constitutes a situation in which amnesty is likely to be granted, and what behavior and steps a person must take to request amnesty.
Assessment and Evaluation Activities
Throughout the day, many interviewees reported that conducting assessment and evaluation activities were not a strong point, and that more could be done to capture data better. While these statements may be true regarding program assessment, the institution is probably already collecting data on a wide variety of points regarding alcohol and other drug use. In addition to the NCHA data collected, the institution has data for counseling admissions, medical admissions to the student health service, substance related calls for service for university police, substance related judicial violations, and substance related violations in athletics. The list likely goes on. The more important issue is collecting these various data points, and having them shared with key decision makers (e.g. the task force) so a larger picture of substance abuse is seen and more accurate decisions regarding the problem can be made.
Due to the way that many universities are structured, getting different departments to share such sensitive data can be challenging. To be truly effective in conducting the required Biennial Review and determining your comprehensive program’s effectiveness in program delivery, policy monitoring, enforcement and consistency, data must be reviewed. This process can be a strong tool at opening doors for data access that may otherwise be closed.
Views toward the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards were very positive, especially based on the changes that have been made in recent years. Professional staff within Residence Education and Development staff also were positively viewed; however, paraprofessional staff, particularly resident assistants, were seen as punitive, often searching out and attempting to “gotcha” their peers.
Views regarding the university police were mixed, and that response and enforcement was inconsistent. Some interviewees believed that the department wrote too many citations, while others believed that they were not writing enough. There seemed to be a theme that officers could do more to be preventative, than reactionary.
After 20 plus years in higher education and working with many different campuses, the consultant has heard these complaints at almost every consultation visit he has facilitated. The culture of college student affairs is far different than the culture of law enforcement; while the end goals may be the same, philosophies, techniques, and strategies differ. The most important aspect is that enforcement and sanctioning is consistent from staff member to staff member and situation to situation.
Within higher education, there is often a view that enforcement of alcohol and other substance laws is ineffective. Having monitored dozens of Collegiate Enforcing Underage Drinking Law Grants, the consultant can say that enforcement does work, but does not work well alone. Successful enforcement efforts require participation and involvement of others outside of the law enforcement unit. A coalition which supports the enforcement initiatives and helps provide resources and assistance is invaluable. Marketing and publication of efforts, as well as sharing the results of efforts assists in creating cultural change. Making sure that officers are trained and equipped to employ a variety of alcohol/substance enforcement strategies (increased patrols, compliance checks, minor decoy operations, party dispersal patrols, shoulder tap operations, fake ID checking/monitoring, sobriety checkpoints, etc.) is significant to changing the culture.
Efforts to change the substance culture, especially when using law enforcement initiatives take time. When implementing these changes, resistance will be seen, more often from students, faculty, and staff who believe that a police totalitarian state is being developed. Some resistance may come from officers themselves who are now being held to higher expectations regarding their work. While specifically intended to address alcohol, these efforts address campus safety. Counts for substance abuse violations may rise immediately, but as the campus adapts to the new culture, those numbers, as well as other safety and health related numbers (especially as they relate to non-substance crimes) go down as well. Many campuses have found that promoting these efforts on increasing campus safety have been much better received than efforts aligned to reduce substance use.
Illicit Drug Use
Illicit drug use, particularly marijuana, was noted as a concern by several interviewees.
As with most other universities, marijuana use is probably the third leading drug of choice by students following alcohol and tobacco. With the current national landscape changing, this is likely to change with marijuana surpassing tobacco, and possibly alcohol.
Generally speaking, with the exception of non-medical prescription drug use, lifetime use of illicit drugs within collegiate populations is below 10%, with annual use being below less than 5%. Past month prevalence is generally considered the most favorable metric regarding use, and with most illicit drugs, use is generally below 3%. The greater majority of college students do not use illicit drugs. The problem stems that those who do frequently experience far greater and grave consequences than the majority of students who use alcohol.
Few, if any, primary prevention programs employing education have been found to be effective at addressing illicit drug use within college students. This is mainly due to the low percentage of students using illicit drugs. Attempting to employ primary prevention practices that attract, engage, and are utilized by the illicit drug users is difficult. Often, programs that appear to show the greatest efficacy are those that focus on individuals which include screening, assessment, intervention, motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and counseling. A few interventions do appear to be promising at creating change when an institution is focusing on data trends. Such practices include: social norms marketing campaigns, small group social norms challenges, and programs based on expectancies.
From a primary prevention and population-wide view, it is important that should a campus believe that it is experiencing a problem with a particular illicit drug other than marijuana and non-medical prescription drug use, that consideration be given toward using limited resources to address a substance that may produce more severe consequence, rather than addressing a less severe substance that is being used more widely. When increasing programming and attention toward illicit drugs, it is also important to realize that by such actions, the misperceptions of use may be increased within student populations, resulting in an actual increase in the use of the drug in question.
Generally, many campuses have found that increased enforcement, educational/counseling and punitive sanctioning, and on-going monitoring of illicit drug use policy offenders is practical and cost effective.
Off-Campus Housing for First-Year Students
The University of Cincinnati has a good problem to have, and that is there are a high number of new students. The negative effect is that this number exceeds the number of available housing spots within Residence Education and Development, resulting in the university having to find alternative housing for students in off-campus properties, most often apartment complexes. These alternative arrangements frequently do not offer the same culture, environment, services, and programs that the traditional residence halls offer. Furthermore, these facilities do not appear to allow staffing structure similar to on-campus facilities. Students do not see themselves as living in a residence hall, but an off-campus apartment complex, which creates different behaviors. Even local developers have caught on to this as evidenced by the building of a liquor store right next to one of the facilities being rented by the university. Simply put, these facilities do not have the same alcohol and other drug use protective features that regular residence halls have.
The university appears to be attempting to address these issues as best as they can through staffing. If not being done, the consultant would suggest considering increased staffing levels in these buildings, community policing assignments either by the university police or municipal Cincinnati police to patrol the buildings, stricter review of criteria which would place students in the apartments or require reassignment to on-campus dwellings (e.g., GPA, academic warning, judicial policy violations, etc.) and increased programming to these facilities by the Wellness Office.
Off-Campus Alcohol Establishments
The university police indicated having some positive relationships with several off-campus alcohol establishments, particularly those that had been in business for several years without having a change of ownership and management. However, several establishments have recently changed ownership, and new relationships have not yet been initiated, thus it is difficult to tell what type of operations these new actors will run.
It is often easy to view representatives of alcohol establishments (both on-premise and off-premise sales) as an enemy. Prevention movements generally have not been inclusive with these folks, and have viewed them with suspicion, frequently villianifying them. Most owners and managers are fairly good people, trying to make an honest living, and are concerned with the health and safety of the community. When approached in a friendly and collaborative manner, some of the best prevention advocates can be found in this community. Most owners do not want to be breaking laws, having people hurt on their premises, or have to replace furniture or equipment on a weekly, if not daily basis due to intoxicated patrons.
Involvement of these individuals within a task force or coalition can significantly help move prevention initiatives forward, especially as it relates to on-premise establishments. Having a member of the establishment community can help connecting and addressing concerns with establishments which may be problematic. Problems seen by the university many also be seen as problems by the industry, and together may be more effectively handled than when addressed separately.
On-premise establishments who often hire college students as staff have a high degree of turn-over, requiring a significant amount of resources being allocated toward training. If responsible beverage service training is not required by state or local ordinance, then generally only managers are trained. If every employ is required to be trained, the costs of doing so increase dramatically with a transient employee population. This could be an area of partnership where the university uses resources and staff (Wellness Center, Hospitality Management Program, and Student Union Bar) to provide responsible beverage service training to student employees of bars, reducing the costs for local establishments.
Purdue University may offer some guidance if the task force would wish to focus in this area. Tammy Loew has both an active campus/community coalition, as well as a hospitality coalition for local liquor establishments. The consultant’s understanding is that this group meets to discuss problematic concerns, works at building relationships between the university and local establishments, and collaborates in implementing prevention programming as responsible beverage service, free non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers, etc.
Only a small fraction of the enrolled University of Cincinnati students live on campus. During the visit, the consultant heard estimates ranging from 15,000 – 25,000 students residing in neighborhoods adjacent to campus. These neighborhoods are not only comprised of students, but include families and other long-term residents. Unfortunately, similar lifestyles may not be practiced, creating conflict. Late night parties, loud music, trash and litter were reported as common complaints of the long-term residents.
The University of Cincinnati not offering or providing on-campus housing accommodations for fraternities and sororities compounds the issue. Any fraternity or sorority housing is situated off-campus, often the property of a local or national organization, and generally only supervised or monitored by the residents themselves. From the consultant’s visit, a large number of off-campus parties occur within these accommodations, and are frequently an issue of contention with long-term residents.
The university has made efforts to attempt to address this issue through safe party planning kits, arrival at off-campus calls for police service, and greek life party policy development.
The university is not alone; the problem of off-campus partying is prevalent on most residential campuses. A variety of environmental strategies have been used to address off-campus drinking. The environmental interventions listed with the NIAAA College AIM tool would be a worthwhile review. Campuses who have been successful in addressing this issue have applied a variety of environmental control strategies including keg registration permits, party registration ordinances, noise ordinances, monitoring and enforcement of health and safety codes – particularly building occupancy and fire codes, student party patrols, increased foot and mobile police patrols, and party dispersal teams.
A variety of other strategies including “welcome” or “hospitality” teams who canvass neighborhoods surrounding campus. These teams, comprised of well known administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders from the university, and community leaders, landlords, realtors, and long-term neighbor residents, visit each house. During the visit, students are welcomed to the neighborhood, are encouraged to practice being a good neighbor, reminded to get to know the other residents in the neighborhood, are informed about local ordinances and behavioral expectations, provided with freebies and promotional items (e.g. community calendars, important community and campus phone numbers, information regarding community ordinances, etc.). Some local fire departments who have fire alarm grants may use this as an opportunity to check fire alarms and make sure proper fire alarms are installed. Some communities may also have alcohol-free block parties in an attempt to encourage mingling between neighbors before problems originate or get out of hand.
Other colleges that University or Cincinnati may wish to look at for guidance include the University of Nebraska – Lincoln or the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
On-Campus Alcohol Vending
A generally accepted principle of prevention strategy is to minimize access to alcohol and other drugs. While some campuses are completely dry, most have provisions allowing those of age to drink within certain settings. Such policies usually do not include allowing the sale of alcohol to student. On many campuses the provision of alcohol during events which focus on or cater to students, or are sponsored by student organizations are usually prohibited. In addition to good prevention practice, other reasons for doing so may include reduced liability for the university, more consistent policy compliance, less employee resources needed for compliance with university, and local and state alcohol beverage service rules.
Campuses with bars on campus tend to be in the minority. More and more campuses are looking at and implementing alcohol sales during sporting events. Some proponents will claim that responsible beverage services practices reduce the likelihood of alcohol-induced negative behaviors and consequences patrons may experience if left to their own devices. In reviewing several policies, the consultant found it difficult to believe that the onus of responsibility for precautionary measures to ensure lack of alcohol availability to minors and requiring proof of legal age is left to the student organizations seeking alcohol sales within the student union.
The consultant admits a bias against on-campus sale of alcohol to students, student organizations, and the general public. Studies indicating benefits and disadvantages are mixed, and outcomes appear to be specific to the campuses in which these efforts are being implemented. It is advised that the campus continually assess the benefits and disadvantages of alcohol sales and analyze the cost analysis in more than a financial sense of profits brought into the institution.
One other consideration the consultant would ask the intuition to make is how these sales are viewed by current, incoming, and prospective students, and if the presence of such sales further contributes to the view that the University of Cincinnati is a party school. Campuses perceived as party schools attract students who seek a party atmosphere. In his work with the Matter of Degree grant at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Thomas Workman has frequently spoken on how once a drinking culture is changed, high schools commonly feeding students to an institution will change, as the party students start going to other party schools, and students less interested in partying and more interested in academic pursuits start coming to the school now less seen as a party institution.
There is an apparent need for services and programs for current students who are seeking early intervention and outpatient services, as well as those who have a term of successful recovery. Interviewees expressed frustration that students in recovery and treatment that they have known expressed difficulty fitting in at the institution, particularly with its perceived party culture. Interviewees also suggested that significant others of those with an addictive disorder (Children of Alcoholics) were also in need. Students in treatment and recovery were also said to express that they either were not getting the help, assistance, and support they needed for success at the institution, or that they did not trust the institution or the resources and help being offered.
Within recent years, a recovery movement within higher education has emerged. More institutions are developing services, programs, and even residence options for students in recovery. The organization Transforming Youth Recovery would be a great organization to consult with if there is a desire for University of Cincinnati to pursue such options. This organization has offered some grant seed money to help institutions begin their efforts.
If students seeking on-campus residence are allowed the option of indicating life style preferences for room pairings, recovery should be considered as an option to be added. This would allow Residence Education and Development to pair students in recovery without the need to having to develop a recovery floor, which may be an option to be considered down the road. The university should also consult with the local recovery community to see if there are faculty and staff, as well as possibly students, who would be willing to assist with the development of a campus recovery group, and the on-campus offering of 12 step groups. With the strong academic programs focusing on counseling and psychology, there may also be some wonderful partnerships and collaborative that would be arranged to help provide staffing, interns, research, and evaluation.
If an interest of the university, there are also a number of emerging trainings and conferences being held which focus on recovery in higher education. If funding is available, these would be great resources for those involved to attend.
New Student and Transfer Orientation
Every campus has a different orientation process. At University of Cincinnati, it appears that the orientation process is mainly focused on academic needs (e.g., registration, financial aid), as it is housed within the academic realm, not the student affairs realm. Those interviewed reported that those in student affairs typically do not get a lot of face time to address non-academic concerns, including alcohol and other drugs. New students are required to complete AlcoholEdu and Haven.
Planning an orientation schedule is always a challenge, as every department, program, and movement are insistent that their information is important and required to be provided to each and every new student. On-line educational programs that students take prior to or shortly after upon arrival to campus appear to have greater efficacy than many of the traditional educational programs offered at an orientation day (skits, drama, information only approaches). There has been limited work at addressing parents and family members that has had some positive impact. Offering educational materials to parents has resulted in an increase of parents communicating to student about alcohol and drugs prior to campus arrival, however the quality and effectiveness of those conversations impacting use is questionable. Likewise correcting misperceived norms by running parents through a social norms challenge intervention in which they estimate the drinking norms of that day’s student orientation cohort with the actual norms has also increased parental communication. However, the manner and style in which parental communication varied greatly, and many schools have found offering guidance and training in how to have these conversations with students beneficial.
Organization/Structural Barriers/ Siloed/Lack of Coordination
The University of Cincinnati is a large organization, and it is natural for some siloing to be present. In order for substance abuse to be effectively addressed, siloing will need to be overcome. Substance abuse is not just an issue for student affairs to tackle; it occurs in the classroom, as well as has effects which impact academic success. The matter is even more complicated as the university has two regional campuses, which appear to operate far differently from the main campus.
It will be important for different entities throughout the campus to be on the same page. To do this, there will need to be an open flow of communication regarding the final recommendations and decisions which are made by the current task force. The communication, promotion, and marketing of these, and the plan to address the recommendations will be paramount, and planning of such strategies should commence immediately.
In preparing for the visit, the consultant was surprised at how little the University of Cincinnati website provided regarding the on-line posting of alcohol and other drug policies. The majority of such policies were more geared toward faculty, staff, and other employees, regardless of the variety of search engine terms used. It would be suggested that a page be created that provides links to the various substance related policies. Doing so will allow parents to see that the university does take these matters seriously.
One other policy area that was noted during the visit is that there appears to be a different set of policies for recognized student organizations than the policies for fraternities and sororities. This is a common occurrence on many campuses, as national greek organizations often have a setoff higher expectations for their groups when it comes to events with alcohol. It may warrant reviewing the policy as it relates to the greek organizations and determining if there is a need to align the RSO policy with at least the minimal requirements of the greek policy.
Task Force Membership and Representation
The current task-force is heavily comprised with representation from student affairs. These members also appear to represent either entry level or mid-level staff. Additional internal representation should be sought from senior level administration, academic affairs, external affairs, and business affairs entities. As the majority of students live off-campus and several issues with off-campus drinking were noted, off-campus representation from the local municipal government, law enforcement agencies, fire and emergency agencies, liquor establishments, and neighborhood groups should be sought.
Tailgating - Permissive Alcohol Culture
Tailgating and the sale of alcohol in the stadium do occur at athletic events. Interviewees specifically mentioned the lack of a specific student tailgating policy and inconsistent monitoring and enforcement of underage drinking by university police. Another concern noted was the lack of a sober, alcohol-free tailgate area.
The issue of alcohol and tailgating is one that is in constant controversy. Depending on pespective, tailgating may be seen as building school spirit, alumni relationships, attracting spectators who might otherwise not attend, or events with great behavioral problems. When masses of individuals are occupying a confined space, problems will result, and when alcohol is entered into the equation, additional problems will be experienced.
The consultant would suggest review of tailgating procedures, practices, and policies and can offer some ideas for consideration. Some institutions will create an alcohol-free tailgate space and add a family-friendly component to it to increase participation, attendance, and sponsorship. Others have developed an alcohol student tailgate space where only students are allowed, everyone entering is carded, noted as being of age or under age, and only those who are of age may drink. Eastern Illinois University discovered that many students were not entering into the game, but staying out and continuing to drink and tailgate during the sporting event. To address this issue, the university empties the student tailgating areas 15minutes prior to game time. Attendance by students has improved, and fewer enforcement resources are needed to then patrol the tailgate area during the game.
The financial wellbeing of an institution is always of concern, especially to senior level administrators. Resources are usually limited and finite, and if substance abuse efforts are not viewed as a priority, other priorities will financially trump them.
Getting support and buy-in from senior administrative levels will be critical in overcoming financial threats. Support from external sources (grants, corporate giving) should also be sought.
As society begins to view marijuana use more favorably, public opinion regarding local ordinances, state laws, and federal laws will likely sway. However, at this time, it does not appear that Federal laws will sway, placing them in possible conflict should local or state laws become more permissive. Institutions of higher education will still be held accountable to promote and follow federal laws in order to maintain funding, specifically financial aid. As norms become more favorable, and perceived risk related to marijuana use decreases, increases in use should be anticipated.
Universities will need to consider how information regarding marijuana related rules, laws, monitoring, enforcement, and sanctioning are communicated to incoming and current students, families, guests, and employees, especially if discrepancies exist between local/state laws and federal laws.
There have been strong efforts to address alcohol and other drug use in the past, but several transitions in key staff resulted in the efforts not being as strongly addressed. Having an on-going task force or coalition may help ease transitions when new staff members are being onboarded.
Existing Alcohol and Other Drug Educational/Prevention Programming – Special Populations
A large amount of prevention efforts appear to be expended to the general population of students who are under 21 and/or live within Residence Education and Development facilities on-campus. With the increase of students having to live in facilities rented by the university to accommodate first-year university housing requirements, it will be important to make sure that students living in these facilities are provided the same programs and interventions those living in on-campus.
There was a common theme presented throughout the day that more efforts focusing on special or identity populations be exerted. It appears that diversity is an important value, especially within the division of student affairs, and that many of the programs were not altered to meet the needs of identity populations including student veterans, African Americans, LGBTQ, and non-traditional students.
This identified weakness shows a larger systemic weakness within the field of college substance abuse prevention, as many of the programs and interventions which have been developed and evaluated have looked at general populations. If any have been modified for special or identity populations, these often have not been assessed or evaluated, or if they have, the results have not been replicated in other settings or disseminated to the field. With the infrastructure of the many different offices focusing on special or identity populations, along with rigorous graduate programs (e.g. health promotion, psychology, counselor education, assessment and evaluation, health communications, behavior analysis) focusing on scholarly work, research, and dissertation/thesis projects there are strong possibilities for collaboration leading to contributions to your institution and the field.
There are numerous opportunities for the institution and student groups to partner with the municipal government and civic organizations to help provide students with substance free activities and events. There appears to be several barriers which prevent students from leaving the campus area to explore alcohol-free opportunities. Some mentioned include lack of knowledge of these activities and events, transportation, lack of understanding how to navigate transportation, and lack of promotion to students. These issues could be collaboratively addressed by both the campus and community organizations, and could be an on-going activity that the Task Force, or a longer-term campus-community coalition could possibly tackle.
Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (EDGAR Part86) Biennial Review
The Biennial Review is one of the three main requirements of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act, which has received increased attention from the Department of Education; more schools are being monitored and fined for non-compliance. The review is to determine effectiveness of both programming and whether policies are consistently monitored, enforced, and sanctioned. This mandate offers the task force, and should a longer term coalition be developed, leverage for collecting several different data points from players who may not have offered data in the past. The findings and recommendations from the Biennial Review process could be used to help “close the loop” to advocate for the need for prevention programming, collaborative relationships, and additional resources.
With the many academic programs within the institution, there are ample opportunities for collaboration, involvement, and inclusion of academic units, faculty, and students. If there is capacity, additional graduate and interns could be housed within units providing prevention services; other students could be encouraged to be involved through service learning opportunities facilitated through academic courses. Often programs within the helping professions and human services are approached. The consultant would encourage leaders to consider how classes on assessment and evaluation may be employed to review program efficacy, how classes in professional writing and copy editing my assist with the development and proofing of written materials and reports, how journalism and communication classes could be utilized to assist in developing and implementing media campaigns. The number and degree of academic partnerships is unlimited.
Other offices (e.g., University Police, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Intercollegiate Athletics.) appear to collect data regarding alcohol and other drug issues. A listing of possible data sources already being collected by on and off campus entities should be brainstormed and these units approached for access to that data.
With its high academic rigor and strong academic culture the collection, analysis, reporting and use of assessment and evaluation results is a necessity for faculty, graduate students, and honors students. Partnerships with academic faculty for methodology design, data collection, data analysis, and reporting – might provide more objective
- Continue existance of Task Force and transform the group into a long-term, on-going campus-community coalition.
- Request formal and informal support from senior level administrators. Offer suggestions of ways they could publically support the work of the task force/coalition. Review the BeVocal, Be Visible, Be Visionary: Recommendations for College and University Presidents on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention document for suggestions
- Increase membership and participation of task force/coalition to include greater representation of university employs outside of student affairs, students, and community/civic leaders.
- Continue work of task force to develop and implement a strategic plan. Consider instituting the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s Strategic Prevention Framework Planning process to guide strategic planning.
- Use task force/coalition to increase partnerships between non-academic representatives and academic representatives for service learning, internships/practica, assessment,evaluation, research, program design and implementation using faculty, academic course sections, graduate students and undergraduate students.
- Ensure that both university and Cincinnati police are active members and participants in the task force/coalition. The task force/coalition should be provided training and education on enforcing underage drinking laws best practices, assist in making sure the departments have the resources to implement such practices, and help promote how these enhance campus and community safety.
- Implement unified patrols between Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati police, in which officers from both departments patrol areas bordering campus together.
- Inventory current alcohol prevention programming to determine where these fall in the NIAAA College Alcohol Intervention Matrix, making determinations as to which programs should be considered for elimination, continuation, or improvement/revision.
- Partner with Cincinnati municipal government and other civic organizations to promote alcohol and substance free educational, cultural, recreational, and social opportunities. Anidea might consist of a publication funded a civic entity, but created and disseminated by students through an academic project or service learning activity.
- Build formal relationships with off-campus alcohol establishments to discuss shared problems and concerns, and consider collaborative efforts which might include developing a hospitality coalition, shared responsible beverage service training, and efforts to enforcefake ID ordinances.
- Consider conducting a formal environmental scan of the campus and surrounding areas using the College Alcohol Risk Assessment Guide.
- Sponsor Town Hall Meeting, as proposed by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.
- Consider applying a variety of environmental control strategies including keg registration permits, party registration ordinances, noise ordinances, monitoring and enforcement ofhealth and safety codes – particularly building occupancy and fire codes, student party patrols, increased foot and mobile police patrols, and party dispersal teams to address concerns with off-campus partying.
- Implement hospitality/welcome teams which canvass neighborhoods adjacent to campus to promote being a good neighbor, education on local ordinances, etc.
- Brainstorm all entities on- and off-campus which may collect alcohol and other drug related data. Develop formal and or informal relations with offices collecting this data. Use the Biennial Review of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act as the justification that the data be shared with the task force, and make such requests.
- Brainstorm possible alcohol and other drug related data points which may not be collected (ex. Point of last drink question for alcohol policy violations) and determine if justification tocollect data is warranted and feasible.
- Increase outcome based evaluation, especially of those programs considered by NIAAACollegeAIM to be effective, or programs considered of value, to determine if they are indeed making an impact on the UC Campus.
- Work to discourage implementation of programming which has been found to have little efficacy (one-time shots, information only approaches, etc.) and replace with interventions found to have higher efficacy.
- Provide training and education to faculty, staff, paraprofessionals, and students leaders who are likely to implement less effective programming explaining why such interventions do not work, and what interventions they might consider instead.
- Continue to require all new undergraduate students, including transfer students to complete AlcoholEdu and Haven, making sure that this is a hard mandate, and not one that is implied.
- Evaluate effectiveness of on-line programs in helping change the culture of the university.
- Continue to implement Step-Up Bystander intervention program, making sure to evaluate efficacy of program. Evaluation team could come from an academic team of faculty and/or students to provide an objective review.
- If Counseling and Psychological Services has the capacity to see increased client load, consider offering additional outreach involving brief screening to both general populations and in collaboration with identity population offices.
- Encourage athletics and wellness to work together to implement and administer the “Motivational Behavioral Modification” program being created by the former student athlete who is currently a doctoral student. If effective, this program could be replicated and evaluated for its use with other student populations and groups.
- Continue implementation of parental notification. If not being currently evaluated, consider doing so to determine if it decreases recidivism. Other areas to assess include if students view parental notification as a deterrent to their drinking, and how parents view the intervention.
- Provide training to staff, faculty, paraprofessionals on signs and symptoms of alcohol and other drug abuse and addictive disorders, and how to intervene with such individuals. Suchtraining and education could be intertwined with the Step-Up Bystander InterventionProgram. While not specific to substance abuse, the Kognito on-line program may an option, especially for staff and faculty.
- Increase understanding and awareness of the amnesty program through marketing and education so students understand what amnesty constitutes and the requirements neededfor amnesty to be offered.
- Research the feasibility of offering recovery services which could include specialized advising, support services, housing accommodations, self-help groups, and student organizations.
- To overcome distance and physical barriers consider assigning mental health practitioners and offices within residence hall settings.
- Determine if based on current trends if illicit drug use is high enough (pun intended) to warrant the allocation of resources which would be enough to make meaningfully change, without taking away resources from efforts addressing alcohol and marijuana use.
- Considering actions to change culture and substance related behaviors in off-campus buildings being used to house first-year students, including: increased staffing levels, community policing assignments either by the university police or municipal Cincinnati police to patrol these buildings, stricter review of criteria which would place students in the apartments or require reassignment to on-campus dwellings (e.g., GPA, academic warning, judicial policy violations, etc.) and increased programming to these facilities by the WellnessOffice.
- Research and development programs and interventions which are specifically designed to meet the needs of special and identity populations. Evaluate and research the efficacy of these programs to make them stronger.
- Review tailgating procedures, practices, and policies and make recommendations for improvement.
- Increase promotion of alcohol and other drug education and prevention in new student orientation
- Increase availability of alcohol and other drug policies available through the UC website, possibly through the creation of a webpage listing all policies.