Alcohol and drug arrests drop at about half of state's public universities

Tuesday, November 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Alcohol and drug arrests were down last year at about half of Oklahoma's public and private four-year universities, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Oklahoma State University saw alcohol-related arrests drop from 56 in 1999 to 20 in 2000. Drug-related arrests at OSU increased from 30 to 46.

The University of Oklahoma had an increase in alcohol-related arrests, from five to 23. Drug-related arrests dropped from 16 to 11.

Schools reporting declines in arrests for liquor law offenses included Southwestern Oklahoma State University, OSU, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Northeastern State University, East Central University, Rogers State University and Southern Nazarene University.

Schools reporting an increase in alcohol-related arrests included Langston University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the University of Central Oklahoma, OU, the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Christian University and Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Schools reporting a drop in drug-related arrests included Northwestern, NSU, ECU, Rogers State, OU, TU, SNU and Panhandle State.

Increases in drug-related arrests or disciplinary actions were reported by Southwestern, OSU, Langston, Southeastern, UCO, Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma Christian.

Three schools _ Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma Baptist University and the University of Sciences and Arts _ reported zero arrests and disciplinary actions.

Howard Clery III, who runs the nonprofit watchdog group Security on Campus, is skeptical of schools that report no arrests or disciplinary actions.

``No school has no crime, so its disturbing when you see all zeros _ they're not being completely honest,'' Clery said.

More schools this year are also adding comments to their data noting that increases in arrests can be attributed to changes in data collection or to the arrest of people not associated with the school.

Everett Eaton, chief of campus security at OSU, said Oklahoma Sate has not added notations to its report.

``Just look at Lake Carl Blackwell, where we arrest a significant number of people,'' Eaton said. ``We could make a note to offset our total numbers ... but any reasonable person knows students go to Lake Carl Blackwell as well.''

Eaton urges prospective students and their parents to use discretion when viewing crime statistics.

The Education Department's Web site had a troubled launch last year, with four Oklahoma colleges among the schools that submitted their statistics on time but failed to be listed on the site.

This year, the site shows data for all Oklahoma colleges and universities.