Colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to report crimes and illegal behavior on and near their campuses. Researchers at Project Know analyzed these reports, which are available through the Office of Postsecondary Education, and compared the information from 2014 to 2013 while noting any changes.
They compared arrests for alcohol and drug use as well as disciplinary actions taken by the schools. They focused their efforts on a group of about 1,000 schools of medium and larger sizes, which made up about 70% of the overall activity.
The states with the biggest increase in drug-related arrests on campus were Alaska, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Maine, while the biggest decreases were observed in Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Hawaii. Those that had the biggest increases in alcohol-related arrests were New York, Nevada, Arkansas, California and Texas. The biggest decreases in alcohol-related arrests were found in Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Vermont, Wisconsin and Colorado.
The states with the highest percentage of arrests for drug use and alcohol use were Montana and Wyoming, respectively. It is noted that lower population areas and schools only need a few arrests to make a significant impact, but it doesn’t change the statistical significance. Overall, there were about 45,000 alcohol- and drug-related arrests on campuses, with an additional 250,000 other disciplinary actions.
Rather than coming away with this with thoughts about particular colleges or states, the bigger picture is that there are serious problems on our nation’s campuses. The secondary education system as a whole has become a foster of substance abuse and related behavior. While some of this can be chalked up to the age group they’re dealing with, a much more concerted effort by colleges to reverse the substance abuse trends is badly needed.