CCU officials: Alcohol, crime study ‘not a correct depiction’ of school

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Coastal Carolina University popped up in a recent study pertaining to alcohol on college campuses.

According to the study by projectknow.com, CCU had the highest number of combined reported disciplinary actions and arrests, 1,070 in total.

Coastal Carolina University Vice President, Student Rights and Responsibilities and Dean of Students Travis Overton says the numbers presented in the report are misleading.

“I would like the opportunity to clarify the term ‘violation’ versus ‘referrall,’ which I think makes a big difference,” Overton explains. “And the numbers that were used in those Clery reports are numbers that reflect the documentation of those incidents.”

Overton says the University is transparent about alcohol use and documents any drinking incident that may be a policy violation, with no warnings given. He says CCU’s disciplinary actions and arrests number, 1,070, seems high because the study includes all possible drinking violations referred for disciplinary action, not just those instances that are documented as actual offenses.

“If you’re looking at the numbers from the standpoint of, this is the amount of violations Coastal Carolina has, then this is not a correct depiction of how many violations Coastal Carolina has,” claims Overton.

The study used the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education and only looked at nonprofit four-year colleges with more than 10,000 enrolled students. Its main purpose was to see how universities’ drug and alcohol policies affected their crime rates, if at all. The authors of the study compared “dry” campuses, where drinking alcohol is completely prohibited regardless of drinking age, to “wet” campuses, which allow alcohol consumption but are subject to the individual school’s rules. CCU is considered a “wet” campus, read its complete Alcohol and Drug Policy here.

The latest numbers were from 2015, from the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education Campus Safety and Security crime data, and reflect arrests and disciplinary actions involving CCU students that occurred on and off campus. Researchers found CCU reported 148 arrests and 922 disciplinary actions. The study calculated the results per 10,000 students.

Overton says the numbers are also skewed because in situations where 10 students may be in a room together where alcohol is found, then school official report the incident as 10 disciplinary actions, even if not all 10 students are found to be in violation of the university’s policies.

In 2014, Coastal Carolina University made headlines when it was connected to an event by “I’m Shmacked,” a group which publicizes videos of students partying and displaying drunken behavior. The event resulted in 35 people being arrested at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach.

That same year, a Campus Safety and Security report showed a high number of liquor law violations, and in response, CCU implemented a mandatory course, called “AlcoholEdu.” According to the university, it requires all incoming students complete the two-part online course about the dangers of alcohol.

Overton says Coastal Carolina University is committed to increasing awareness of alcohol and substance abuse.

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