Foaming over

Residence hall alcohol-related violations, arrests increased in 2015


The Sunflower


NOTE TO READERS: In the Thursday print edition, The Sunflower inaccurately reported that Wichita State University police issue disciplinary referrals. In fact, those are handled by Student Code of Conduct. The Sunflower reached out to WSU Police late in the afternoon and will try its best in the future to allow all of our interviewees appropriate time — within reason — to address our requests before including their lack of response in our articles. 


After two years of relatively few liquor law violations at Wichita State, university police reported eight liquor-related arrests and 94 disciplinary referrals at campus residence halls last year.

In the previous four years, the university made only one arrest for a liquor-related violation in the WSU residence halls, according to the 2015 Annual Security and Fire Report.

Federal law requires public-funded universities to make its annual crime statistics available to students each year by Oct. 1. This year, Wichita State University Police Chief Sara Morris sent the annual report to students through the university email system.

It’s important to note that Shocker Hall opened in the fall of 2014. Since then, 13 alcohol-related arrests have been made on campus.

While arrests are up, disciplinary referrals have returned to similar numbers as 2011, when the university handed out 86 disciplinary referrals. The university issued 18 and 19 disciplinary referrals in 2013 and 2014.

Disciplinary referrals can result in expulsion, suspension, probation, warnings, housing contract termination, restriction or suspension of university privileges and alcohol counseling or education, according to the student code of conduct.

The Sunflower does not have access to what specific disciplinary actions were taken by the university. Disciplinary actions are considered part of a student’s education record, which is protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Possession, use, manufacture, sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages is not allowed on university premises except as permitted by university policy.

Of the eight 2015 alcohol-related arrests included in the annual security report, only one alcohol-related arrest appears on the university-maintained daily crime log. But that arrest was not at the student residence halls.

The Clery Act requires institutions with a campus police or security department to keep a daily crime log that is open to public inspection of alleged criminal incidents. Wichita State University Police maintains a daily crime log on its website and in person at its building on campus.

According US Department of Education guidelines on the Clery Act, crimes committed on university property — including in residence halls — must be recorded in the daily crime log to provide crime information on a timelier basis than the annual report.

“A crime must be entering into the log within two business days of when it was reported to the campus police or security department,” the guidelines say. “This includes crimes that are reported directly to the campus police or security department, as well as crimes that are initially reported to another campus security authority or to a local law enforcement agency, which subsequently reports them to the campus police or security department.”

Clery requires university police to report a broader definition of “arrests” in its annual report than what a person typically thinks. An arrest must be included in the report under the following conditions (from Dept. of Ed.):

— Those persons arrested and released without a formal charge being placed against them. (An arrest has occurred when a law enforcement officer detains an adult with the intention of seeking charges against the individual for a specific offense(s) and a record is made of the detention.)

— Juveniles taken into custody or arrested but merely warned and released without being charged. A juvenile should be counted as “arrested” when the circumstances are such that if the individual were an adult, an arrest would have been counted.

— Any situation where a young person, in lieu of actual arrest, is summoned, cited or notified to appear before the juvenile or youth court, or similar official for a violation of the law.

— Only violations by young persons where some police or official action is taken beyond a mere interview, warning or admonishment.