College Drinking Arrests in PA: A Look at the Numbers

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- When parents send their kids to college, they budget for tuition, room, and meal plans but not bail.

A Newswatch 16 investigation finds some area universities regularly see more than 100 students arrested every year for underage drinking and other alcohol-related crimes.

The university at the top of the list expects several arrests this weekend.

After a long winter that stretched into the spring, Bloomsburg University's weekday campus life will probably change during this coming weekend's "Block Party."

"A lot of people who go to the school do tend to take part in drinking activities," said Bloomsburg student Lynn Darby.

Newswatch 16 crunched the numbers of alcohol-related arrests over a three-year period and found six colleges in northeastern and central Pennsylvania with more than 10 students per 1000 likely to be charged with underage drinking and other alcohol-related violations in a given year.

Bloomsburg University was number one with nearly 18 violations per 1000.

"That did not surprise me. But it's not a bad thing," said Donald Young.

Donald Young is Bloomsburg's dean of students. He and Dione Somerville, the schools vice president of student affairs say these numbers are an opportunity to get people help.

When a student gets arrested, on or off campus, they have options of treatment, counseling, even rehab, depending on the situation.

"We have very few students that are repeat offenders," said Somerville.

In his 36 years at Bloomsburg, Young says several Bloomsburg grads brought to him after drinking arrests have even contacted him.

"'If someone did not pull me aside, if this situation didn't happen, who knows what would have happened to me, or what road I would have went down,'" Young said, recounting his conversations with former students.

There will likely be more students who will be meeting with Bloomsburg's dean of students after this upcoming party weekend, where students and friends from out of town will be drinking with some situations may get out of control.

"There's not like too many options on the weekend other than possibly going out to parties and stuff like that," said Darby.

Officials at both Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg Universities say they have increased the number of programs and counselors for students in recent years.

UNIVERSITY ARRESTS PER 1,000
Bloomsburg 17.9
East Stroudsburg 17.6
Penn Tech 15.6
Penn State 15.4
Susquehanna 10.8
Bucknell 10.2
Lock Haven 9.7
Penn State Hazleton 7.2
University of Pittsburgh 7.2
Misericordia 3.8
Kings College 2.9
University of Scranton 2.5
Penn State Schuylkill Haven 2.5
Wilkes University 2.1
Temple University 1.7
Lycoming College  1
Keystone College 1
 Penn State Worthington  0
 Marywood University  0
 Lackawanna College  0

--from US Department of Education 2013-2015

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