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Published June 17 2013

Forum editorial: Add crime to boozing on campus

It’s no surprise students on area college campuses drink, sometimes to excess. But a new study that links 89 percent of campus crime to alcohol should startle anyone who is concerned about the pervasive abuse of alcohol by young people.

Four area campuses reported data to the U.S. Department of Education: the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead. Their combined average rate for alcohol-related crime was 89 percent, compared with the national average at 66 percent. In other words, it’s almost a sure thing that alcohol is a factor in crime on the four campuses. Of course, the incidence of all crimes varies by campus.

Still, the new report is a shocker. Or it should be. Among some observers, the reaction will be: It’s no big deal. College kids have been drinking for generations. True enough. But the crime aspect is a new wrinkle that can’t be so easily dismissed. Certainly college students have been swilling booze and beer for generations. There’s no news in that. But there is no way drinking in college in the 1960s and ’70s was linked, by 89 percent, to reported crimes on campuses.

The college drinking/crime relationship is yet another indication of the pervasiveness of alcohol abuse among young people. Saturated by media and advertising blitzes that associate alcoholic beverages with sexiness, social success and sports prowess, it’s no wonder kids as young a junior high school age are seduced. They start drinking early and carry the habit into their college years, often with tragic consequences.

Now area campuses have the distinction of the highest rates of alcohol-related crime in the nation. Anyone getting the message? You want your sons and daughters to go there?

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.