Drinking and Drug Use High in Minnesota’s University Dorms

It has been known for years that drinking and drug use occur in college dorms around the country with those in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota not being an exception.

Because of the drug and alcohol use occurring in dorms, some are better known for incidents than others. In one dorm, a few students may be doing a few lines of Molly, or MDMA, and in another they may be chasing some gin with orange juice. Regardless, many of the students are underage and ay type of drug use is illegal.

Nonetheless, most of the infarctions that occur in these dorms are minor, even some of the crimes that result. The most common crimes in dorms include theft, drug offenses, and underage drinking.

Over a five year period, dorms were analyzed and it was found that they definitely hold true to their reputations.

One group of four residence halls saw 2/3 of the alcohol-related offenses across a total of a dozen housing options. One residence hall in St. Paul saw fewer incidents than others throughout the Twin Cities of a similar size.

Officials believe that the crime rate variation could be the result of freshman choosing dorms that have specific reputations. These reputations could cause housing staff to look more in-depth at their housing policies.

In order for students to find the dorm they want, they can usually do so easily because years of building reputations have resulted in dorms being stereotyped. One dorm may be known for the nerds, another may be known to be relatively quiet, honor students may accumulate at another, and then there are those that are known for their parties.

Those with the highest populations tend to have a high rate of theft. In fact, those with the highest concentration of students tend to have a higher rate of drug use and underage drinking. One residence hall has seen 75 underage drinking arrests in a five year period. Right behind it is another on the same block with 39 offenses.

The University of Minnesota student conduct coordinator spoke on a “double access point” system, which requires students to swipe their U Card before they enter a building. They have to swipe it again to enter a residential area. A lot of positive feedback has been received on this system. Students have been told to take responsibility for guests and to ensure others do not follow them into the dorms without swiping their cards.

Overall between fall 208 and spring 2013, University of Minnesota police recorded approximately 1,100 offenses within University housing. Minneapolis police dealt with more criminal acts in the University neighborhoods in 2013 alone than University police did in the dorms in five years.

This has many students saying that they do feel safe living in their dorms. But while the Security Monitor Program that the University of Minnesota has in place monitors the 12 residence halls from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. each night, such things as drug use are not always spotted since these acts sometimes occur among a small group of friends. When these activities are suspected, students could be charged with crimes.

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Type of Charge: 3rd DWI

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