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Off-campus incident rates show decline for fourth consecutive year

(Alec Zabrecky / Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts and its surrounding community saw a significant drop in off-campus incidents involving UMass students, according to a recent Off-Campus Conduct Report.

The report provides statistics related to the 2016-17 academic school year, touches on a four year trend of decline with such incidents, and covers “off-campus violations of the University’s Code of Student Conduct reported in the town of Amherst,” according to a press release from the University.

The first report, conducted for the 2012-13 academic year, shows 519 students involved in 348 off-campus incidents. Last year, that number dropped to 210 students involved in 141 such incidents. The incident rate has declined 39 percent in the past two years.

According to the report, unlawful possession of alcohol was the most commonly cited offense, with offenders frequently being required to complete a BASICS course, which educates students about the risks of alcohol abuse and helps reduce risky behavior.

Last year, UMass and the Amherst Police Department introduced the Party Smart Registration program, where students can sign up to receive a courtesy call from the police if a complaint is made about their party.

“This is no accident,” said Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life. “Our party registration program, in which the Off-Campus Student Center mentors students in responsible behavior and helps them register gatherings with Amherst Police, was an immediate success in reducing noise complaints.”

As a part of the partnership, representatives from the Dean of Students Office and APD meet weekly to discuss and review off-campus violations of the Code of Student Conduct.

While the statistics point to a significant decline in off-campus incidents, some students say the perception of the University hasn’t quite changed in their minds.

“It’s surprising,” said sophomore computer engineering major Tyler Hom, citing past and the prevalence of partying in general at the University.

Hom also said he’s noticed that students may be taking more precautions before going off-campus, following University outreach about the consequences they may face.

To junior biology major Alena Naritsin, the police presence off-campus is noticeable and may be a contributor to incident rates declining. Naritsin went on to say she’s happy that student incident rates are down.

While sanctions, including the BASICS program, may be a significant deterrence for many students, the conduct report found a 10 percent drop in sanctions administered for off-campus incidents from the 2015-16 academic year to last year. The report also found that no expulsions were administered last year, compared to three the year before.

Like Hom, sophomore building and construction technology major, Jack Wice, said he thinks the decline in incidents and University punishment can be attributed to students partying smarter. To Wice, the potential of sanctions or legal punishment “definitely deter[s] people.”

Will Soltero can be reached wsoltero@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @WillSoltero.

Comments
2 Responses to “Off-campus incident rates show decline for fourth consecutive year”
  1. Nitzakhon says:

    How “interesting” that you post a picture of white males with a Gadsden flag. Almost as if you intend to smear white males and people on the Right with creating “incidents”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was thinkin the same thing. I guess conservatives tend to get into trouble more often?

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