The “red zone,” Housing and Dining’s nickname for the first five weeks of the semester, lived up to its name this year with a significant increase in hospital transports since Welcome Week than in previous years, creating concern among faculty and staff.
According to studies conducted by the Office of Campus Life, approximately 25 to 30 students are transported during the year because of alcohol overdose. Twenty-nine students were transported last year, and the numbers for this year are on the rise.
Resident Director Issam Khoury said the number is higher than this time last year, although neither university officials nor the Health Center could provide The Eagle with the most up-to-date number of transports this year.
According to reports filed by Khoury, every alcohol-related transport so far was linked to fraternity parties. None have been from an on-campus event.
“Some of the transports are coming from upperclassmen, but primarily from freshmen,” Khoury said.
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Faith Leonard said on average, more female students are transported than males, more first-year students are transported than upperclassmen and a disproportionate number of alcohol-related transports occur during the first five weeks of the semester.
Caitlin Miller, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, said the reason there is an increase in alcohol transports is because the current freshman class is larger than in previous years.
“Regarding women, well let’s just look at the ratio of female to male,” Miller said.
When a Resident Assistant is notified about continuous vomiting, severe headaches, periods of unconsciousness, breathing problems or paleness in the skin, which are symptoms of alcohol poisoning, they contact Public Safety. Immediate actions are taken to ensure the patient’s health, which usually includes notifying 911 while Public Safety provides immediate care until the ambulance arrives on site.
Leonard said her greatest fear is that one of the students who is transported to the hospital for an alcohol overdose will die.
“In addition to the threat to the lives of these students, this behavior is often disruptive and upsetting for the university community and of grave concern to family members,” she said.
Those who are transported to the hospital are required to meet with an official of the Office of the Dean of Students and participate in a drug education program, according to Leonard. Parents are also notified about the matter.
Athena Hoover, a freshman in the School of International Service, said the new freedom freshmen experience contributes to the number of alcohol-related transports.
“Freshmen are going out on a ‘I don’t have my parents’ mentality, whereas the upperclassmen can keep themselves under control,” Hoover said. “They know their limits.”