UW students face new drinking sanctions

MADISON (WKOW) - By Greg Neumann

Based on the school's own statistics, drinking is a way of life at UW-Madison.

Roughly two-thirds of students binge drink and University Health Service officials say it causes all kinds of problems.

"(With) the number of individuals who have an encounter with a police officer, who have unplanned sex, who get into fights, who have academic consequences..." said Tom Sieger, Director of Prevention Services for University Health.

That's why UW is adding a sanction called "BASICS."

It requires students who violate the campus alcohol policy to take two 90 minute classes with a counselor to learn about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

"It demonstrates two things," said Sieger.  "That it decreases high risk drinking among students 18 to 24 years-old and it also reduces that harm that is associated with high risk drinking."

And it comes at a cost to the students.

First-time offenders must participate in group sessions that cost $78.

Serial or more serious offenders must get one-on-one counseling at a cost of $200.

"I totally agree with it, I think students should pay for what they have done," said UW Freshman Molly Sitter.

But as you might expect, not all students share that viewpoint.

"I think a lot of times with alcohol, people aren't thinking," said UW Senior Abby Zerrien.  "And I think its such an important part of a lot of people's lives that they probably won't change regardless of fees."

"I'd understand more like, community service, like keeping the campus up to par and stuff like that, but I think counseling's just a little, little ridiculous I guess," said UW Student Dan Gaenslan.

Ridiculous or not, failing to complete two 90 minute classes within eight weeks of a violation will earn students a hold on their academic registration and transcripts.

The university also approved a new measure to help students feel less scared about helping a friend who is in trouble because of alcohol.

For instance, a student can call 911 if a friend has alcohol poisoning without receiving an underage alcohol citation if they were also drinking.


source - https://www.wkow.com/story/15430448/uw-students-face-new-drinking-sanctions