University of Wisconsin Oshkosh leaders continue to examine the data involved in the recent report by the website rehabs.com. We have questions about the methodology and statistical analysis involved in the report and regret the fact it was not shared with our campus prior to publication.
Setting aside its flaws, the report is actually an indication of what college and university campus communities like UW Oshkosh are doing to responsibly confront a problem.
The report indicates that UW Oshkosh and its sister UW System institutions take instances of crime and misuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol involving our community members and on our campus very seriously. This is a critical health and safety issue for thousands of campuses around the nation. We are committed to confronting it. We are equally committed to upholding the law.
In recent years, we have expanded our Community Safety Officer (CSO) program and collaboration with Community Advisors (CAs) at residence hall security stations. Together, with our students, we are training and empowering the extra eyes and ears necessary to promote healthy behaviors and increase campus safety. That is just one responsible partnership at UW Oshkosh that has resulted in more reporting of drug-and-alcohol-related incidents. We are not surprised that arrests, citations and referrals have increased.
If colleges and universities are going to take a significant problem seriously, they need to enhance and strengthen their alcohol and other drug education, counseling and enforcement programs. That is what we at UW Oshkosh and at our sister institutions continue to do.
The report focuses on the last element of our three-pronged approach to confronting misuse and abuse: enforcement. It is a very important element because it is central to ensuring members of our community are safe. Behaviors that people are cited for at UW Oshkosh are dangers to the individuals themselves and to others. It would be irresponsible not to enforce the law.
Again, while there are serious issues with the rehabs.com analysis, the report might be better framed as a ranking of responsibility. It is a demonstration of how seriously UW Oshkosh and other institutions in Wisconsin and around the country are taking a national problem how well they are responding to dangerous behaviors and crimes in their campus communities. Serious questions could be raised about universities and colleges reporting few to no arrests, citations and referrals.
We work hard to establish a culture of safety, accountability and support. It is the right thing to do.