No. 1 college crime: Drinking

Associated Press

SPOKANE — Violent crime rarely occurs on the state’s six public college campuses, but plenty of students are breaking liquor laws, according to a new report.

There was one murder, 12 rapes and nine aggravated assaults on the state’s four-year public college campuses last year, about the same as in 1999, according to the report released by the U.S. Department of Education.

But there were 1,642 liquor law violations reported on the campuses last year, including 630 at Western Washington University in Bellingham. That compares with 1,524 liquor law violations reported in 1999.

Officials at WWU said the high number of violations reflects the large number of students living in dormitories and an aggressive program to discourage drinking and drug use among the 11,655 students.

"We have one-third of our population living on campus," said Dave Doughty, assistant campus police chief.

Underage students who drink in the dormitories are in danger of being caught both by campus police and residence hall advisers, Doughty said. In fact, most of the 630 liquor law violations were reported by college staff and were handled internally without any criminal charges, Doughty said. Punishment can include probation or expulsion from a dorm.

Just 113 people were actually arrested on the WWU campus for violating liquor laws, Doughty said.

Washington State University in Pullman, which has long had a reputation as a party school, reported 544 on-campus liquor law violations among its 20,641 students, compared with 346 the year before. There were 169 arrests by police for liquor violations.

The University of Washington in Seattle, the state’s largest public college with 35,108 students, reported 291 on-campus liquor law violations, compared with 317 the year before. There were 41 arrests.

The UW also had 89 on-campus arrests for drug use, more than the other five combined.

Eastern Washington University in Cheney, which has 7,688 students, reported 38 liquor law violations, down from 73 the year before, and 30 arrests.

Central Washington University in Ellensburg, which has 8,359 students, reported 137 liquor law violations, up from 124 the year before, and 97 arrests.

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, which has 4,194 students, reported just two liquor law violations. But 60 people were actually arrested on campus for liquor violations.

The nation’s 6,269 colleges are required to collect and report crime statistics every year to the federal Education Department, which makes the statistics available on its Web site. This is the second year the agency has collected and released the data.

The statistics are alleged criminal offenses, and do not reflect actual prosecutions or convictions.

There were 54 motor vehicle thefts on campuses last year, two less than the year before, with 39 of them on the University of Washington campus.

There were 222 burglaries, compared with 203 the year before.

The lone murder occurred at the University of Washington. That was on June 28, 2000, when a resident doctor killed his mentor at the University of Washington Medical Center and then committed suicide.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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