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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
Features Writer

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

NMU CARES — President Brock Tessman shares his feelings on the universitys new CARE Team. Photo Courtesy of Northern Michigan University
Letter to the Editor — Our New CARE Team
Brock Tessman February 23, 2024

NMU ranks high nationally in drug arrests

University ranked ninth for on-campus drug arrests per 1,000 students in national study

NMU ranked ninth overall in 2013 for most on-campus drug arrests per capita per 1,000 students, as revealed in a recent nationwide study of college campus drug arrest records.

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Project Know, an organization that helps addicts and family members of those struggling with addictions, conducted a study that ranked the top 50 schools in the nation with the highest drug arrest records per 1,000 students. The study showed NMU has a drug arrest rate of 9.1 per 1,000 students.

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According to Derek Hall, NMU spokesman and assistant vice president of identity, brand and marketing, the researchers accessed the NMU drug arrest statistics through Clery Act information available on NMU’s Public Safety webpage.

“Their numbers are true,” Hall said. “We are on this list because it is based off of a ratio of drug arrests per 1,000 students. We are a school with an enrollment just below 9,000, so there are bigger schools out there that have higher numbers of drug arrests.”

Federal law requires any higher institution of learning that provides government financial aid to students, to provide annual crime and safety-related reports. The most recent data available in 2013 showed 81 on-campus drug-related arrests or citations reported by NMU Public Safety. Hall said these numbers are concerning but also expected.

“It’s not a good thing being on this list,” Hall said. “It’s an issue we have to face. The drug problem isn’t here, it’s everywhere.”

Head of the NMU Health Promotions Office, Lenny Shible, said the numbers from the study seem normal.

“For a school our size these numbers we receive don’t alarm me because those are the sort of numbers you’ll see in the general community and you’ll see them in a number of institutions,” Shible said.

Comparatively, from the campus Clery report in 2012, NMU reported 47 drug related arrests and/or citations.

Derek Hall said the reason why NMU arrests significantly jumped from 47 to 81 is because of improvements in NMU’s campus safety.

“We changed some of our enforcement policies on campus. In the past our residence life folks were given a lot of leeway when it comes to dealing with students who possess or use drugs. In the past, residence life had more leeway to handle those issues more internally,” Hall said. “In recent years, we decided that with any suspected drug use, public safety should be involved.”

Freshman criminal justice major Mark Staron said he has noticed public safety’s presence often both on-campus and around the residence halls.

“It blows my mind that people try to smoke pot in the dorms. It’s a no brainer, public safety is everywhere,” Staron said. “Chances are you’re going to get caught.”

As of Feb. 17, there have been six reports of marijuana arrests and/or citations on-campus thus far for the month of February. The issue with drugs on college campuses will be a never-ending issue, according to Shible.

“The issue with drugs and alcohol is not a problem to be solved or fixed. It is a dilemma that we have to manage,” Shible said. “It’s been around forever and will be around in the future. How do we address it, what support can we provide students, is what matters.”

The HPO conducts one alcohol substance abuse class each semester and one marijuana substance abuse class each year.

To find out more about Project Know, you can visit their website here: http://www.projectknow.com/discover/drugs-on-campus-2014/

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