Reported drug and alcohol incidents at Chapman explode, officials say substance abuse policy needs updating

Almost half of first-year students reported at least one episode of heavy drinking, according to the Alcohol & Drug Crisis Prevention section of the Chapman University website. Photo by Claire Treu.

Despite sharp rises of reported drug and alcohol abuse incidents at Chapman in the last two years, the committee responsible for recording drug and alcohol violations failed to meet half of the recommendations the group set for itself in 2016. The group did not meet once during the last two years, according to the report, which was emailed to the Chapman community in January.

The report also states that the university does not have a comprehensive strategy to support the success of students in recovery, despite a perceived increase of this population in the student body.

The report, known as the Biennial Review of Alcohol and Drug Programs, compared 2017-2018 incidents to those of the 2016-2017 academic year. “Illegal substances” incidents quadrupled, from four to 16 in the earlier report to the one covering 2017-2018. The number of students with two violations almost doubled, from 45 in 2016-2017 to 87 in 2017-2018.

“Deferred violations” showed a stunning increase as well: from 198 to 422 in the latest report. This means the violation is held in abeyance, or suspension, if no other violations of the conduct code occur, the report states.

Increased drug and alcohol incidents are often correlated with a higher incidence of sexual assaults and violence, may indicate growing addictions and can be detrimental to student health, according to a fact sheet from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

This review is conducted in compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act, (DFSCA), which contributes to the university’s ability to receive federal funding. The review board addresses challenges – such as the 2018 legalization of marijuana – in addressing substance use on campus, and set goals for the next biennium.

Eleven university officials serve on the board, but the group did not meet for two years between the compilation of reviews.

“It’s a challenging group of people to find time when we are all free and available,” said Colleen Wood, chair of the Biennial Review Committee.

The committee plans to gather before the next biennial review but as of now no meeting has been scheduled, Wood said.

Eight goals from 2016 are listed in the report. Out of these eight, four were achieved.

“This goal was not met during the biennium” was the status listing for the following objectives set in 2016:

 

1) “Review University policies, including student organization risk management policies, surrounding student organization hosted ‘venue parties.’”

2) “Develop an enhanced communication procedure between Public Safety and the Dean of Students office for medical calls related to drug and alcohol use.”

3) “Create a resource webpage for students and employees where information about local resources is more readily available than the required annual Drug Free Schools and Communities notification.”

4) “Explore creating a taskforce between the University, Orange Police, and the local office of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control to discuss collaborative opportunities between the groups to enhance enforcement of existing laws.”

 

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) conducts periodic program reviews to assess institutional compliance. A fine may be imposed if an institution has failed to certify that DAAPP is in place or if the program fails to address all required subject areas, according to a spokesman.

Will Chapman be fined? “The Department cannot speculate on a specific institution’s compliance without conducting its own review,” the DOE spokesman stated.

Reports must be completed every two years and the DOE periodically assesses compliance with federal regulations, the spokesman said.

“The maximum fine amount is currently $57,317 per violation. While fines are the most common sanction for DFSCA violations, serious violations of the law could result in a termination of an institution’s eligibility to participate in federal education funding programs,” the spokesman stated.

Despite marijuana becoming legal in California for those 21 and older, it is still against the student conduct code to consume the drug on Chapman’s campus, according to Wood. Graphic extracted from Chapman’s most recent Biennial Review.

A student’s first and second violations of the alcohol policy, and first drug violation if only involving marijuana – are generally deferred. This means that if a student has two alcohol incidents, more often than not, they actually have four, according to page four of the review.

These multiplying numbers are said to be a result of “increased training on the student conduct process and the emphasis on correctly entering information into the student conduct database,” according to the report.

Wood attributed the leap in violations to an increase of students living on campus and more robust enforcement by resident directors. The 2018 legalization of marijuana could also be a factor, she said, but these are only theories.

“I’m not positive that (student) substance use has actually increased,” Wood said.

Wood hypothesized that students who have multiple incidents tend to move off campus for their second year. Chapman now requires students to live on campus for two academic years, which could increase the number of citations in the next review.

Dave Sundby, Director of Residence Life and First Year Experience, attributed the dramatic growth of offenses to an increase in students living in university housing.

The university did not add any new residence buildings within the two school years. Chapman Grand was not opened until fall 2018, so it does not apply to the report.

“In my ideal world, I would like to see those numbers drop and go down, but we are bringing in another residence hall in the fall and we are moving to a two-year living requirement. So, I think those numbers are actually going to go up,” Wood said.

Despite rising numbers, the university did show effort in addressing substance use on campus, which can be shown in the four goals which were met. Most notably, the Student Engagement staff has coordinated with Information Systems and Technology to track a student’s campus involvement at the time of their violation. This means the university keeps track of what clubs, athletic teams or campus engagements the student is associated with. They have also collected data from fraternities and sororities concerning alcohol and drug education.

Wood hopes to conduct a campus-wide survey of Chapman student drug and alcohol use in the future.

“We hear a lot of rumors about what substances the students are using, but it would be nice to have some numbers,” Wood said.

Wood said the committee tried to get a comprehensive survey of student drug use approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), but it was rejected. The IRB is an authoritative board which oversees research of human subjects in accordance with federal regulations, according to the Chapman website. Wood said she hopes to try a different approach to get such a survey  approved within the next few years.

In addition to running the majority of drug and alcohol trainings on campus, Dani Smith, the director of Chapman PEER and Health Education, meets one-on-one with students who have multiple violations. She said that in the past few years, fewer students have been referred to her. The reason for this is unclear.

“Students would generally be referred to me if they had three or four violations,” Smith said. “So I don’t know where all those referrals are going.”

Jerry Price, Dean of Students, was unable to comment by deadline. Sundby said he was unaware that referrals to Smith had declined.

Smith and Wood said Chapman’s drug and alcohol policy needed to be updated. The policy should have more consequences for third and fourth violations, Smith said.

Above are the officials who served on the review committee. Graphic extracted from Chapman’s most recent Biennial Review.

 

Seven Real Stories of Nightmare Roommates You Never Want to Have

Leaving the nest is one of the most exciting things in life for some college students. After years of living under Mom and Dad’s rules, it is time to fly away. However, there is unexpected stress that comes with going to college and living with a complete stranger that may or may not be a crazy person. Some students get lucky and become best friends with their roommates. Others, not so much.

We asked seven Chapman students about some of their nightmare roommate stories and let’s just say, living with your parents might be a better option than any of these.

   1. The Aimless Yacker

“I knew he was really drunk, but then he started belching, and that’s when I knew he was going to yack. I didn’t know he would throw up on my toothbrush though.” ~ Tyler Brook, junior data analytics major.

When you can wash the toothbrush but you can’t wash off the things that happened to the toothbrush.

   2. The One Who Needs Anger Management Therapy

“She and her boyfriend would get in these wildly intense fights, even over the phone. They would throw clothes at each other. One time, she got so mad she threw her phone in the pool and just didn’t retrieve it.” ~ Torian Mylott, junior peace studies major.

When the only way to not hear their yelling is to yell louder than them.

   3. The Pottery Barn Interior Designer

“She forced me to buy a $30 wall decoration because my side of the room wasn’t Pottery Barn enough for her, but when it came in the mail, it was printed on computer paper. She freaked out when I took it down a week later.” ~ Grace Papish, junior vocal and broadcast journalism major.

When you have to assert your status as the dominant roommate. 

   4. The One That Pitched a Tent in the Room

“It was absurd … I knew she was trying to avoid talking to people, but I didn’t think she’d go out and get a tent to avoid us and literally isolate herself. She ghosted us all, and after that, she just left.” ~ Jordan Garth, sophomore health sciences major.

When you don’t want to face your problems so you hide from them. 

   5. The Oblivious Smoker

“I had a cold and a migraine, and she just decided to stand directly in front of me and blow a puff of weed in my face. Then she was confused as to why I was pissed.” ~ Justin B, sophomore strategic and corporate communications major.

When there’s too much breathable air in the room and your roommate takes it upon themself to fumigate. 

   6. The One Who Thinks He’s Doing Well … But He’s Not

“I came back to my dorm and he cleaned the room, which was sweet, but then everything was rearranged and I found out he threw away the remote to my Apple TV. Thanks a lot bro!” ~ Gunner Acevis, senior business major.

When your good intentions just aren’t enough. 

   7. The One Who Can’t Handle Alcohol

“He was so drunk, and all he wanted was a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So I went to go make him one, and I look away for two seconds and he’s falling down. I had to help him get up and he threw up all over me.” ~ Devon Hernandez, senior business administration major.

When you decide it’s someone else’s turn to carry you. 

Sleigh the Holiday Season at Your College Home Away From Home

End of semester stress may have you feeling like the Grinch, but don’t let that crush your holiday spirit. You may have gotten into the groove of family traditions leading up to winter holidays in the past, but between finals and Southern California’s less-than-wintery weather, it can be easy to lose the holiday spirit. Here are five ways to celebrate the holiday season in your college home.


1. Deck The Hall

Many students take to decorating the inside of their dorms for the holiday season. Whip out the wrapping paper and the ribbons to include your dorm doors in the holiday spirit.

The welcome area in Argyros Forum has loads of butcher paper for free. Photo courtesy of Veronica Millison.

To make a tree:
  1. Cut about five feet of butcher paper into several small pointed strips.
  2. Fold the strips into a tube and tape the back, leaving the pointed edges on the outside.
  3. Flatten the taped strips and pull the outer point to create a raised effect.
  4. Tape the strips to the door, adding more as you work your way down to the stump.
  5. To create the stump, cut a small piece of butcher paper and put it on the bottom of the tree.
  6. You can also cut out ornaments of your desire or hang real ones using mini Command hooks.
To make a snowman:
  1. Cut enough butcher paper to make three circles of varying sizes, small, medium, and large.
  2. Tape onto the door the smallest circle on the top and largest on the bottom, connecting each one.
  3. Add a cutout hat, scarf and facial features – or draw them directly onto the circles.
  4. Cut small white circles and tape them sporadically on the door to create snow.

2. Make a Holiday Treat

Nothing says “Hello holidays!” like good food. No matter what you’re celebrating, ask for the family recipe to your favorite dish and share it with your roommates and professors. Bake with your friends in the fully stocked Morlan Hall kitchen – just bring your own ingredients and clean up when you are done.

Many students take to coffee to push through finals. Spice it up and treat yourself with a side of a holiday inspired coffee cake. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe – inspired by and courtesy of Kristyn Merkley, from Lil’ Luna.

You will need:
  • A 9×13 inch pan (or proportional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the pan and set it aside.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, milk, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Pour the content of the dry bowl into the larger mixing bowl and whisk to create the batter
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan so that the top is even.
  7. To create the topping, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
  9. Using a butter knife, create swirls on top of the batter to blend the topping in.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool for two minutes, and enjoy!

3. Set the Winter Scene in SoCal

Although Southern California is not a winter wonderland, create the ambience yourself and make use of what SoCal has to offer. The fire pit at the dorm pool is open until 9 p.m. – giving you plenty of time to enjoy a night under the string lights roasting chestnuts and making s’mores.

If you don’t mind going off campus, the sand is SoCal’s snow. The beach is a great place to have a bonfire and roast your holiday treats.
Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash.


4. Join the Community

Grab your friends and go to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Choir Procession in the Orange Circle. This year, the ceremony will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Don’t miss the tree lighting and music starting at 5:15 p.m. 

Shops and restaurants will be open for you to grab a bite while you enjoy the event. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


5. Gather Your Friends For a Gift Exchange

No matter what you celebrate, gift exchanging has been made a large part of the holiday season. Additionally, it’s a great way to get together with your friends before the end of the year.

There are several options to gift-giving, perhaps the most common being Secret Santa and White Elephant. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


 

Five Panther Stereotypes You Might See On Chapman Campus

Chapman students are said to be diverse, but a big chunk come from California, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, and Oregon, according to a report from the Chapman admissions office. If you are from one of these places, you may meet lots of others Panthers from your area. 

We found five models to help depict the top five states listed above – you might recognize each by their all too familiar stereotypes.


1) We got California hitting #1 – no surprise there.

“No I do not watch the Kardashians everyday, but at least a couple times a week,” Alyssa Steinfeld, a junior business administration major from Brea, California, said.

It may not stand out to Californians, but it is pretty common to say “OMG” or “literally” between every sentence. Of course, you aren’t a Californian unless you are well-versed in show business and avocado toast.


2) Washington rings in at #2. A large proportion of Chapman students hail from this rainy state, perhaps because students are seeking some California sun.

“To be honest, I’m such a California girl, but, of course, my roots are based in Washington-people can tell by my passion for coffee and apples. I still hate the rain though,” Emily Felix, a sophomore business major from Bellevue, Washington, said.

Vegan food and coffee are staples for Washington natives. “U-dub” is a typical nickname for the University of Washington, where many young people hang out and enjoy good restaurants and dainty coffee shops.


3) Hawaii is #3. Like California, Hawaii has a laid back and easy-going way of life.

“It’s not all ‘hang loose by the beach’ all the time. Sometimes it’s a ‘hang loose by the waterfall and hike’ type of deal,” Cassidy Keola, a junior communication studies and public relations major from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, said.

Hawaii has a second language called Pidgin. For example, using “shoots” means “Okay!” or “Let’s do it!” and GRINDZ means good food. Keola said that Hawaiian locals do basically the same things as Californians, such as shopping and eating.


4) Colorado is #4. Much like the Pacific Northwest, Colorado also is home to adventure and pizza: a match made in heaven.

“As much as I love the California sunshine, I miss the mountains and snow in my hometown. Plus, snowboarding brings back so many good childhood memories,” Wil Lowery, a junior business administration major from Lone Tree, Colorado, said.

Many Colorado natives love honey on their pizza crust. They also like to call themselves “ColoRADo” or “granola,” which means dressing hipster or having a free spirit. Oh, and they love winter sports, of course.


5) Oregon is the last most popular state – where health and outdoorsmanship become one.

“We’re just people who love being active and enjoying quality food in a quality place,” Trevor Vill, a junior health science major from Eugene, Oregon, said.

Oregon natives love their adventures and coffee, but what sets them apart from their Washingtonian counterparts is the “foodie” vibe. From fresh local food to the trendiest restaurants, Oregonians are food lovers. They also gush over their favorite grocery store, Fred Meyers, and a local coffee shop, Dutch Bros.


All photos by Jasmine Liu.