Texas Woman’s University saw a major increase in alcohol-related arrests this past fiscal year, newly released statistics show.
According to the TWU Department of Public Safety’s Clery Act — a mandated crime and safety report for college campuses released this past week — the Denton campus saw 44 liquor violations in 2012, compared to just three violations in 2011.
Campus Chief Elizabeth Pauley attributed the major increase to two campus parties that were held last fall in residence halls.
“We decided we were going to make a statement and show the students we don’t tolerate minors drinking,” she said. “We had 18 arrests at each of the two parties that were held just two weeks apart.”
All arrests at the parties, officials said, were for minors in consumption or possession of alcohol.
“We got our message across,” Pauley said.
She said once in a while, on a campus the size of TWU, there might be an unruly group.
“Think of it this way; some of our numbers did jump this year, but we are a small city of 17,000 and I feel confident we will go back to where we were in years past for this next fiscal reporting year,” Pauley said.
Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life at TWU, agrees with Pauley that the violations will go back down to single digits this academic year, and said that the two parties last year were uncharacteristic of TWU students.
“Every once in a while, you just get some newcomers who don’t understand what the expectations really are, and obviously, that happened to us last year,” he said. “For us, it was a problem.”
The ordinarily low drug and alcohol violations are because of the types of students TWU attracts, Nicholas said, noting that several are in health professions that require high grades and a lot of studying. He and his staff also make it a point to let incoming students know that certain types of behavior will not be tolerated, Nicholas said.
“When we’re having open houses and recruiting programs all the way through orientation, the message is very clear that this is not a party school — and I'm one of those people who say that to both parents and students,” Nicholas said.
In addition to the increase in liquor violations, TWU’s aggravated assaults on campus doubled.
“These were due to the fact that more families are living on campus now and the extra assaults reported were domestic situations,” Pauley said.
The population is growing so large, she said, that the school has to lease seven apartments for additional campus housing.
Pauley said there aren’t as many families on campus this year, because there is no room.
“I don’t think our numbers will increase anymore for aggravated assaults,” she said.
Despite the increase in a few of the statistics Pauley reported to the U.S. Department of Education for the Clery Act, she said the university is still ranked the 11th safest school in the U.S. for its size.
Freshman Jamesha Bodwell said she has noticed this on campus, but the lack of activity at night makes her nervous.
“In the daytime I’m fine, but at night I won’t walk around alone,” she said. “Around 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., it’s so dead out here that it’s kind of scary.”
If she was on a campus with a larger student population and more police patrols, she would feel safer, she said, even though she knows that crime at TWU is low.
The University of North Texas is roughly double the size of TWU and its statistics were larger when it came to reporting, but nothing indicated as much of a significant increase, reports show.
There were, however, four sexual assaults reported, including two at the UNT College Inn Residence Hall, Cpl. John DeLong, UNT police spokesman, said.
“In both cases the alleged suspect was male and the reporting victim was female,” he said.
The school does have a Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention (SHARP) class and encourages anyone — male or female — to attend.
DeLong said the class is taught in a five- to six-hour session that contains educational PowerPoint presentations and instruction on protection techniques.
The next classes will be held on Oct. 18 and Nov. 16, he said, and students interested in attending can e-mail DeLong at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a space. Classes, he said, while open to everyone, are gender specific. Men who would like to attend a self-defense class should indicate that in their e-mails.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.