High on the list

Nicole Caporaso

App State ranks among top 50 colleges with most on-campus alcohol- and drug-related arrests

Appalachian State University makes lists for both the top 50 universities with the most on-campus drug and on-campus alcohol arrests per 1,000 students, according to an article by Business Insider.

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An evidence bag containing marijuana collected from a pending 2012 incident rests on a desk at the ASU Police Department. Appalachian ranked 11th for number of on-campus drug arrests and 28th for on-campus alcohol arrests, according to Business Insider. Photo by Paul Heckert | The Appalachian

Appalachian is listed as 11th for number of on-campus drug arrests and 28th for on-campus alcohol arrests. No other North Carolina school made either list.

The information was determined by the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education by tracking campus crime reports.

“‘A lot of drug- or alcohol-related arrests on campus’ would not be the correct wording, but they are frequent,” said ASU Police Capt. Todd Corley. “When you look at our numbers compared to other UNC schools, they tend to be a little high, but that has to do with our aggressive enforcement on campus.”

For the 2012 calendar year, there were 168 alcohol-related and 133 drug-related violations on Appalachian’s campus, Corley said. Numbers for the 2013 year are not yet available.

“If you strictly enforce drug and alcohol laws on campus, aggressive enforcement of violations will reflect badly on campus because it makes it look like a drug problem, but there can be the same problem on another campus and that university might choose to just do a referral to student conduct,” Corley said. “If we just referred our students to student conduct for a violation, then we wouldn’t even be ranked.”

Cindy Wallace, vice chancellor for Student Development, said it is a complicated issue and that the numbers do not do Appalachian justice because the campus police handle these types of incidents.

“To pull out these quick little numbers and add them up, I don’t think that does justice to the actual data and to what is happening on campus,” Wallace said. “We are very forthright in how we report the information regarding campus behaviors that we believe are dangerous and that jeopardizes the safety of our students.”

Corley said most of the calls the university police respond to relate to petty theft, which is categorized as larceny, not alcohol- or drug-related crimes.

Story: Nicole Caporaso, News Reporter

Photo: Paul Heckert, Photo Editor