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April 1, 2008
By Scott Gayer
Aiming to further curb underage and binge drinking, University police and student services personnel will launch a new program April 4 targeting students living off-campus.
Sponsored through a state of Nevada substance abuse prevention grant, University police will add two additional officers to Friday- and Saturday-night patrols in the neighborhoods surrounding campus throughout the last six weeks of the spring semester. The increased patrols will pay particular attention to house parties and first-time alcohol offenders.
Students cited during those patrols will be referred the Office of Student Conduct within Student Services where they will meet with a counselor to talk about the offense.
Daniel Crump, one of The Office of Student Conduct’s graduate research assistants working the grant, said the session is not intended to provide a clinical solution or diagnosis. Rather, the counselor will walk back through the students’ decision-making process that led to the citation.
"We're not diagnosing, we're just discussing and reflecting back," Crump said. "It's not like a counseling session."
Crump said that this technique has proven successful in many other college settings. Research in hand, he said that such “mirroring” often surprise’s students when they are forced to reflect on their behavior. This is especially true, he said, with first-time offenders and students on the verge of alcoholism.
Using software programs and self-guided reflection schedules, Crump said he hopes students can look at themselves and their behavior from a third-person point of view. In those situations, men tend to realize how much money they actually spend on excessive consumption of alcohol. Women are often caught off guard by the amount of calories they ingest.
Both Crump and his colleague, Kristine King, said they want students to know that the BASICS program is not primarily intended to be a crackdown on drinking. The program, they said, was initiated to help students avoid the harsh judicial process which can set students back in class and in life in general.
"I don't want students to think we're this big bad authority,” King says. “We want them to know that the university is looking out for its students."
They said the BASICS program was developed because University administrators are seeing the majority of alcohol-related problems shift from on-campus to off-campus.
"We're not here to trap people,” Crump said. “We want to bring down the rates of off-campus violations. We're just trying to get people thinking."