The same students who sponsor night walks to check the lighting and grounds to increase safety will hold the door open for a stranger entering their residence hall. Despite frequent warnings, students - and even faculty, administrators, and other campus personnel - act less judiciously than they would elsewhere." (Siegel 1994). Seaman (2005) agrees, saying, "Typically, there is a social encounter in which a certain amount of kissing or other sexually intimate touching is consensual, but at some point, the girl indicates that she would like t terminate that sexual encounter but the other party continues...the fact that alcohol is often involved only compromises the perpetrator's impulse control and he overpowers her."
The Role of Alcohol in Violence on College Campuses:
When one examines the data of violence, on college campuses, the one contributing element shared most commonly by all forms other than premeditated attacks on random individuals (Siegel 1994) is alcohol consumption. Despite the fact that most college underclassmen are not of legal drinking age, "...t would be unrealistic to imagine very strictly enforcing the drinking age on many campuses... realistically, unless you ban alcohol completely, students who really want to drink will manage to get alcohol" (Siegel 1994).
Strictly speaking, college campus violence does not include violent encounters that take place off campus, but many authorities consider violence that occurs between college students in off-campus situations are considered within the framework of violence on college campuses (Siegel 1994). Typically, intoxication-related violence is likely to be male-on-male, initiated in or around college bars or fraternity parties (Seaman 2005).
Fraternities also feature another form of violence associated with alcohol consumption on college campuses, in the form of forced excessive (sometimes fatal) alcohol consumption during fraternity pledge hazing. Unlike the other forms of campus violence, most serious incidents or deaths associated with fraternity hazing are accidental.
Nevertheless, especially when death results, they should be included in any discussion of college campus violence because they occur more often than the premeditated mass murders on campus that receive so much more media attention.
Violence is a fact of life, both in society at large as well as on college campuses.
Generally, college campuses are less susceptible to many of the random acts of violence, such as muggings, physical attacks from complete strangers, armed robbery, gang violence, or drive by shootings that come to mind in general when one considers violence in society. On the other hand, many people associate college campus violence with the premeditated mass murders, such as the recent Virginia tech shootings in 2007. Campus authorities have implemented widespread security measures to deal with the threat of premeditated violence by enhancing identification confirmation procedures and banning guns from campuses, but more restrictive handgun laws are essential to minimize that particular threat. The reality is that premeditated violence and mass murder perpetrated by firearms are among the rarest forms of violence on college campuses. Sexual assaults and date rape occur much more frequently than rampant murder, as do violent encounters between intoxicated males in college bars, whether on or off campus. Alcohol is a common contributing factor in all forms of violence on college campuses except premeditated acts of violence or mass murder, but that too is difficult to regulate effectively on many college campus environments. Therefore, it would seem obvious that the most effective measures for reducing violence on American college campuses would be to address the most common forms with public awareness campaigns alerting students to the types of situations and circumstances known to be associated with the highest incidence of on- campus violence. Ultimately, it is primarily the responsibility of student to heed such warnings and to avoid excessive drinking at social events both on and off campus.
Conlon, E. (2004) Blue Blood. Riverhead: NY.
Innes, B. (2007) Serial Killers: The Story of History's Most Evil Murderers. London: Quercus
Macionis, J.J. (2003) Sociology 9th Edition.
New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Schwartz, E. The Right to Bear Arms; U.S. News & World Report (March 17, 2008) pp. 38-43.
Seaman, B. (2005) Binge: What Your College Student Won't Tell You. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
Siegel, D. What Is Behind the Growth of Violence on College Campuses?: The United States of Violence; USA Today (May, 1994) pp 1-5.