Colorado Mesa alcohol violations up as enrollment rises, police say

Alcohol-related student disciplinary referrals at Colorado Mesa University increased fourfold over a three-year period ending in 2010, according to an annual campus crime report.

This, as the school saw double-digit percentage increases annually in enrollment from 2008 to 2010. As of Wednesday, enrollment stood at 8,998 students.

“We’re probably going to see consistency in those (alcohol ticket) numbers being up every year,” said Grand Junction Police Department Sgt. Pua Utu, among a team of five officers assigned to Colorado Mesa. Utu and others attribute the rise in alcohol violations to the enrollment jump.

A report published by the school in September said 318 disciplinary referrals were written by resident assistants for liquor violations at the main Grand Junction campus in 2010, compared to 82 in 2008. The report doesn’t reflect the number of cases in which an individual student was found guilty of a violation.

John Marshall, the school’s vice president for student services, likened the referrals to a court summons and said extreme cases can include penalties such as removing a student from campus housing. Resident assistants have discretion about whether to contact police or handle matters with a disciplinary referral, depending on the perceived severity of a violation, Marshall said.

According to the report, Grand Junction police issued 30 summonses for suspected liquor violations in 2010, compared with 26 in 2009 and 13 in 2008.

Police reported 39 drug violations in 2010, up from 38 and 20 in the previous two years. There were 14 reported burglaries, while 10 and 9 were reported the preceding two years.

“A lot of those were people breaking into fenced, gated areas during the construction,” Utu said, referring to construction projects on campus in recent years.


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