Stanford administrators are concerned about the safety of students after 10 undergraduates were transported to Stanford Hospital for alcohol poisoning in September, according to a Friday email from Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole, Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students Mona Hicks and Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of Vaden Health Services Jim Jacobs.
This number represents an increase in transports in comparison to previous years. There were two, four, eight and three transports in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively, according to the email.
“We are writing this evening with concern about over-intoxication during the first two weekends of fall quarter,” Brubaker-Cole, Hicks and Jacobs wrote. “This has been a challenging start to our academic year and a dangerous trajectory.”
Frosh make up four of the September transports, which is consistent with previous years despite the increase in class size. However, more upperclass students were transported for alcohol poisoning in September 2021 than in the first weekends of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, according to the email. While sophomores are technically upperclassmen, for many of them, this is their first time being on Stanford’s campus due to the pandemic.
“Ten cases overall may seem like a small number to you, but it’s worrisome to us: this is just what we can see and measure,” Brubaker-Cole, Hicks and Jacobs wrote.
Brubaker-Cole, Hicks and Jacobs remindeded students of the gravity of alcohol poisoning through prompting students to “imagine what it would be like for you, or someone you love and respect, to be violently ill, vomiting, having seizures, having trouble breathing, and experiencing a heart rate so low that death is a possibility.” They also wrote that research shows excessive binge drinking can have deleterious effects on cognitive function within the developing brain.
The three encouraged students to think about their plans and expectations for alcohol consumption as they entered the weekend. They provided a diagram of various drinks’ alcohol contents and encouraged students to understand the alcohol content of alcoholic beverages if they choose to drink.
Brubaker-Cole, Hicks and Jacobs encouraged students to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. They added that students should reach out to their resident assistants, Ethnic Theme Associates, Resident Director or Resident Fellow for support. They also assured students that those “seeking medical treatment for themselves or others, or victim survivors who report a sexual assault, will not be subject to disciplinary action with respect to their alcohol or drug use.”
The new Student Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy was drafted “to help facilitate a path for students to get education, get help, and get care,” the three wrote. They also reminded students that they can meet one-on-one with a Substance Abuse Educator, a Well-Being at Stanford Coach and the Dean of Students Office, and they can connect with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
“We know that you’re excited to be here. We ask that you remember your long-term goals after college,” Brubaker-Cole, Hicks and Jacobs wrote. “We call upon you to take care of yourselves, your friends, and everyone else around you.”