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UCSB: Three student deaths in 30 days

momsquadmomsquad Registered User Posts: 997 Member
edited April 2013 in Parents Forum
Three students have died at UCSB since November 9, with at least two of the deaths related to alcohol and/or drugs.

It is reasonable for a parent to expect some sort of contact from the administration of the university outlining an action plan to address the situation? Or as parents do we just accept that our 18 year olds are now adults and hope for the best?
Post edited by momsquad on

Replies to: UCSB: Three student deaths in 30 days

  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,419 Senior Member
    What would you propose the university to do? I don't mean that in a snarky manner, but how do you sort out the 18 year olds from the 22 year olds with regard to alcohol? Drugs are illegal but they are in our society, how would you propose a university to handle it (differently)?
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    My kids both took a gap year before going off to college.
    I realize accidents happen, but some people are more attracted to risky situations than others. If a parent doesnt think their child is able to behave responsibly, it is certainly reasonable to wait until they are ready.

    UCSB requires all new students to take an online alcohol safety & sexual violence prevention course, which sounds like it gives students information that they may not have had regarding risky situations.

    I dont know what else they can do to inform the decision making process of their adult students.
  • momsquadmomsquad Registered User Posts: 997 Member
    I guess I'm on edge because each of our last 3 phone calls with our daughter has started with her telling us another student had died. I agree, it's unrealistic to expect the university to monitor risky behavior of kids living off campus. However a somber message from the Chancellor or other campus representative to parents might help raise awareness of the tragedies and lead to intervention that could prevent it happening again.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    I will say that if my daughter had decided to attend WSU, I probably would have made sure her dorm didn't have a balcony.
    Officials seek solution to stem fraternity falls | Local News | The Seattle Times

    The house she lives in ( at another school ), does have alot of stairs, but no balconies.

    Just as I had to take down the swing set when she was six, because she was jumping off the top, I expect there are design changes that can be made in housing to reduce accidents.
  • tx5athometx5athome Registered User Posts: 3,484 Senior Member
    Three deaths at UCSB (my alma mater by the way) is very scary! Were they freshmen?
  • momsquadmomsquad Registered User Posts: 997 Member
    Thank you for the link EK, two of the UCSB deaths were also due to falls. The article indicates that WSU and U Idaho officials are alarmed and that the WSU president has formed a task force in response to a death due to alcohol poisoning. City officials are getting involved to review building codes. I guess these are some of things I would like to hear happening at UCSB.
  • bookwormbookworm Registered User Posts: 7,729 Senior Member
    These deaths of young people are so awful, especially because the young person, 24 hours later, would have found a better path.

    My son has known too many college students who have made a leap from a roof or whatever. It is terrible. Only solution is train to train all freshman to recognize symptoms and call alerts,even if overreacting. For every life saved,it is a blessing.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,432 Senior Member
    What would you propose the university to do?

    Oh, here is the simplistic answer. A lot more starting by looking for those bones that form a backbone.

    I am consistently amazed that stories like this one appear to surprise parents. I am amazed because those stories are the same old stories as the year before, and the year before.

    Is it hard to find the common denominators of the causes behind most deaths? Nope! Read enough stories and you will get a lesson in the use of ...Greek letters. Yes, there is almost always a fraternity behind the most egregious behavior on or near the campus.

    What could universities do? Work hard --really hard-- to eradicate every form of those cancerous organizations that should have no place in any education setting. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It does not matter. All and every one of them!

    Will it happen? Nope. Not until the romantic and nostalgic parents who support those activities stop paying and defending the very core of those organizations.
  • momsquadmomsquad Registered User Posts: 997 Member

    The kids who died were 19, 21 and 22, they were not freshmen. One fell from a cliff in Isla Vista, one fell with another student from an apartment building (the other student survived) and one died from alcohol poisoning. Apparently the cliff falls are a fairly regular occurrence due to the geography of Isla Vista. We walked through Isla Vista on a recent visit and were appalled at the seeming lack of any code enforcement at all. I know this is what endears the area to students, but as a parent I can't understand how the city can allow some of these structures to house students.
  • Icarus77Icarus77 Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    Darwin I suppose.
  • mimk6mimk6 Registered User Posts: 4,162 Senior Member
    What can the school do? Well, my son's school sent letters to freshmen parents before school started asking us to talk with our kids and partner with them on the issue of alcohol abuse -- they even sent us a booklet with information to help us have those talks. We got more than one message like that. So my guess is that if there had been deaths from alcohol poisoning that an email would go out to parents, like it did during the hurricane, but on this topic asking us, again, to talk with our kids and also letting us know what they are doing on their end to try to combat the problem of binge-drinking.
  • momsquadmomsquad Registered User Posts: 997 Member
    Thank you for your input mimk6. I have been talking to quite a few parents of my daughter's friends from high school, and it appears the excess drinking is universal and a common concern among parents. And it's not just fraternities and sororities promoting the culture, the kids sit in their rooms and "pre game" before heading out to the parties. If they are caught they complete an online slap-on-wrist "re-education" program akin to traffic school.

    And Icarus, the fact that the campus has made no effort to communicate with parents on the issue makes me feel as though they agree with you.
  • CatriaCatria Registered User Posts: 11,349 Senior Member
    If drinking age was reduced to 18, how much would it help curb the alcohol issues?
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Icarus77, saying that deaths related to impulse control and reasoning is simply weeding out the stupid, is particularly callous and cold.

    We childproof our homes when our children are toddlers, & since we know that college age students are prone to undertake sensation seeking activities, it seems prudent when designing buildings for them to use, that we keep their decision making skills in mind, including the fact that their impulse control may be limited even more by alcohol.

    High rise dorms with balconies seem like a bad idea all around, even without use of alcohol.

    Neurology Now: Buzz Kill: How does alcohol affect the teenage brain? -- American Academy of Neurology
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,250 Senior Member
    One somewhat elite private college on the east coast dealt with their alcohol/drug issues by simply expelling students - even when they were close to graduation. A couple of these kids came from very wealthy families who threatened that if the school followed through with the expulsion, the family would see to it that there would be no endowment/contribution from the family fund. The school stuck to its guns. The kids were expelled. Others were suspended for a year. Alcohol/drugs problem became far less acute once the school made the stand. Granted, this was a small private where all the kids lived on campus, so it was easy for the school to monitor partying and step in when it became excessive. May not work for a big public - although the party scene even at Univ of Colorado-Boulder was curtailed when the school made a public commitment to curtail it.
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