OU given solid grade for drug safety
BY JENNIFER HOLYCHUK
OU News Bureau
Oakland University received a good grade for drug safety from Collegeprowler.com and has fewer drug arrests than some other state universities. Some students, however, say that drugs on campus are more prevalent than the statistics show.
According to the site, this grade comes from “student ratings of the prevalence and importance of drugs and social drinking on campus” as well as “peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol.”
The anonymous student author of OU’s drug safety section described drugs as a very small part of campus life.
“There is very little drug activity on campus,” she said on the site. “Drugs on campus are barely noticeable, and very few students take part.”
Some students, however, feel that drugs are very common on campus — especially marijuana.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Nanez, a social work major, said she has been offered marijuana at OU “multiple times.”
“I know a lot of students here who smoke,” she said. “I’d give OU a C-.”
Sophomore Amber Griffin agreed. She is a criminal justice major and said she has been offered marijuana at Oakland “a lot.”
“Yesterday, as a matter of fact,” she added.
Griffin has even noticed drug use when she smokes a cigarette between classes, she said.
“No one notices people smoking marijuana on campus,” she said. “A lot of the campus ‘smoker spots’ have people smoking weed daily.”
Despite the experiences of some students, OU has had very few on-campus drug arrests compared with some other state universities.
According to the Oakland University Police Department’s Annual Safety and Security Report, there have been total of 10 drug-related arrests in 2009 and 2010 — about five arrests per 10,000 students.
The University of Michigan had 28 drug-related arrests per 10,000 students for 2009 and 2010 — more than five times that of OU. In fact, OU has the lowest number of drug-related arrests for its student population compared with Michigan State University, U-M, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.
Captain Mark Gordon of the OU Police Department said that there are a few reasons for OU’s low number of drug arrests.
“I think the fact that Oakland is primarily a commuter school does have some bearing on our low drug-related arrests,” he explained. “However, I also feel there is a great relationship between housing staff and housing students.”
According to Gordon, all drug arrests since 2009 have been marijuana-related.
“It is by far the most common illegal drug we find on campus,” he said.
Despite this, College Prowler lists Adderall, OxyContin and Vicodin as the most popular drugs at OU.
“The list of most popular drugs was created by our student author, who used both student survey responses and personal experience to create the list,” explained Amy Campbell, College Prowler’s managing editor. “I agree that marijuana should probably be included, but she apparently felt the others were used enough on campus that they were worth listing.”
According to Griffin, prescription drugs such as those listed on College Prowler and even some harder drugs are used by OU students.
“It’s not just marijuana,” she explained. “I had a few people yesterday talking to me about Ecstasy and acid, too.”
However, many students do not share Griffin’s experience and see OU as a relatively drug-free environment.
Two sophomores who wanted to be identified as Jordan S. and Jordan Z. agree with College Prowler and said they would give OU a B+.
A junior who wanted to be referred to as Emma C. has never encountered drugs at OU and agreed with College Prowler’s rating.
“I’m sure that is an accurate rating for OU,” she said. “I have had little to no experience with drugs so far on campus.”
Gordon said that drug use is taken seriously and explained that the OUPD also offers community education programs to raise awareness of the dangers of drug use.
“Oakland takes a very proactive approach to drug enforcement and education,” he said. “I believe this has had an impact on drug issues on campus.”
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