From 2018 to 2020, when LSU students were caught drinking alcohol or taking drugs, the university engaged the police 100% of the time. It makes LSU a far cry among Louisiana colleges and universities, as the discipline has been handled internally.
Federal law requires universities to report any incident involving illegal alcohol or drug use. This requirement is part of the Cleary Act, which calls on any school receiving federal aid to classify and detect incidents of crime on and near campus.
A Louisiana Luminator review of Cleary’s law data showed that while other Louisiana schools often deal with alcohol and petty drug issues through an administrative disciplinary process, LSU turned exclusively to law enforcement.
according to University annual security statisticsLSU reported 301 arrests for alcohol violations and 263 arrests for drug violations from 2018 to 2020. No internal disciplinary case for drug or alcohol violations was reported during the same time frame.
Campus spokesman Ernie Ballard said the LSU Police Department will always be involved any time someone is found breaking the law. “We feel that the higher number of arrests reflects less tolerance for the type of behavior that often translates to increased risks for young people,” Ballard said.
One of those cases involved The head-on incident that led to the death of a new student in November 2020. This led to the arrest of Terry Pat Reynolds III, a 21-year-old student from Shreveport, for abusing that student, who was not identified by police, and others.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said Reynolds’ case was still under review.
Reynolds’ arrest came just over a year after the death of LSU fraternity pledge Max Gruver. Matthew Naquin, 21, was convicted of negligent homicide in that case, resulting in New Criminal Offenses Laws in Louisiana And the Grover’s home state, Georgia.
Among the 11 largest annual crime data for Louisiana universities reviewed by the Louisiana Illuminator, LSU was the only school to report that there were no internal disciplinary actions for alcohol and drug violations from 2018 to 2020.
In addition to LSU, Illuminator Louisiana See Cleary Act data from 2018-2020 for University of Louisiana-Lafayette, University of Louisiana-Monroe, McKinney’s, Southeast Louisiana, Southern, Louisiana Tech, Grambling State, Tulane, Northwest State, and the University of New Orleans. and LSU-Shreveport.
Louisiana Tech recorded 157 arrests and 78 cases of internal disciplinary action for liquor violations during the three-year period. University spokeswoman Tonya Oakes-Smith said police would arrest if the violation was a criminal offence.
“For example, if an 18-year-old is caught drinking alcohol in their residence, that becomes a disciplinary referral due to our state laws,” Smith said.
Cleary Act reports do not necessarily reflect every case of a minor drinking on a college campus. It is not illegal for minors to drink in a dorm room in Louisiana because dorms are considered private residencesBallard said with LSU. A student under the age of 21 is caught drinking elsewhere on campus.
LSU Alcohol Policy It states that students under the age of 21 cannot drink in campus dorms, including fraternity homes and female students, but does not specify the penalty for doing so.
Whether drinking minors in dorms is reported in crime records varies among Louisiana universities. Tulane also does not include drinking in dorms in Cleary Act reports, according to a university spokesperson. Both Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette do.
Laura Egan, director of programs at the Cleary Center, which works with colleges and universities to meet the law’s reporting requirements, said it was “unusual” that LSU had not reported any bylaws for drug and alcohol abuse over a three-year period.
“It’s rather unlikely for a school the size of LSU to not have any disciplinary referrals,” Egan said. “I would say I’m surprised by that.”
Wes Perkins, a professor of sociology at Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges who specializes in alcohol and drug abuse in teens and young adults, said he’s not sure that LSU’s police-only policy on drug and alcohol discipline is more effective in curbing illegal activity.
When a university demands that the police be involved in every minor infraction, administrators and assistants residing in student residences and students themselves will be reluctant to report the incidents.
“They know they’re going to really get their peers or students into a lot of trouble, and they’re going to involve parents in potentially unpleasant ways,” Perkins said.
For example, if a resident assistant finds students drinking outside the dorm, rather than calling the police, “the tendency will be, in many cases, to tell them to take it back inside,” Perkins said.
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Perkins said the lack of reporting of wrongdoing at LSU doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer students are engaging in excessive drinking or drug use.
Most universities are reluctant to turn their campuses into a “police state,” Perkins said, “so if there’s a lot of hesitation about calling the police, they are likely only effective in the worst situations.”