As students transition to college life, some will be at greater risk for developing potentially dangerous drinking patterns than others.
Research suggests that student socializing patterns are often established in the first six weeks of their first year on campus. Factors that can influence high-risk behaviors within a social setting include group drinking norms.
As your student selects co-curricular activities, including membership in sports clubs, student organizations, and the Greek community, continue to talk with them about their alcohol use and your expectations, norms, and values.
Before coming to campus, students and parents should be familiar with university policies relating to alcohol. Here are a few things to remember as you talk to your student about drinking at college:
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a "permit-only" campus, meaning that no one, regardless of age, can consume alcohol on campus property without a permit and there are strict criteria for obtaining a permit. This includes all buildings, residence halls, stadiums, parking lots, dining and conference facilities, and Greek houses. For more information, view the university's Alcohol Policy.
It is also a violation of Housing policy to be in a room where alcohol is present whether you are drinking or not, and Housing policy does not allow you to possess or display containers that held or were intended to hold alcoholic beverages. Alcohol related conduct that infringes upon the rights of others to a quiet, orderly living environment, or that poses danger to yourself or others is not acceptable under any circumstances. Campus Security officers and residence hall staff reserve the right to dispose of alcohol or drinking paraphernalia. The University Police can also issue citations on campus to individuals found to be in violation of laws related to alcohol.
Students should also be aware of local laws and policies practiced in Lincoln which may differ from their home communities. The Lincoln Police Department regularly conducts "Wild Party Patrols" to identify and ticket parties that are causing disturbances in the community, individuals selling alcohol without a license, and those providing alcohol to minors.
The above types of off-campus violations are also considered violations of the Student Code of Conduct and can result in sanctions on-campus in addition to legal consequences.
Your career may be impacted if you have alcohol violations on your record as many companies, including public and private schools, are now screening applicants for past legal problems with alcohol. Your application to a professional school including, but not limited to nursing, physical therapy, law, dental or medical may also be effected if you have been found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Applicants to such schools are typically required to report any Student Code of Conduct violations as part of their application.
If you are concerned about the physical well-being of a friend who is overly intoxicated, call 911. The Nebraska Good Samaritan Law provides limited legal immunity for MIP (minor in possession) to both the intoxicated minor and the first person to request help for the intoxicated individual. The caller should make a good faith request for emergency medical assistance, remain on the scene until law enforcement and/or medical personnel arrive, and cooperate with officials. Similarly, the University Diversion Policy provides an option for the setting aside of the Student Code of Conduct violations.
This type of information is important to share with your student because it dispels the perception that all of their peers are drinking and drinking excessively. When students realize that they’re not alone in either abstaining from alcohol or, at the very least, controlling their drinking, they feel more comfortable declining the invitation to drink at social events.
In the next section, we'll describe how to have a constructive conversation with your student.