UW-Oshkosh disputes ranking as top school for alcohol-related arrests

WLUK photo
WLUK photo

OSHKOSH - A new report shows the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is ranked highest in the country for alcohol-related arrests on campus.

But school officials say it reflects a commitment to curbing abuse issues on campus.

Classes are back in session at UW-Oshkosh. And it also means for some students drinking alcohol won't be far behind.

A report by the website lists UW-Oshkosh as the number one school in the country for on-campus alcohol-related arrests. But university officials dispute the notion alcohol abuse at UW-Oshkosh is worse than any other school in the country.

"We as a campus and a system have opted not to turn a blind eye, we know it's an issue," said Petra Roter, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Roter says the ranking doesn't take into account that a majority of the arrests the campus reported are actually citations or referrals for diversion programs.

While university officials have concerns about the way the report was written, they say they take instances of drug and alcohol abuse on campus very seriously. And they say they have a plan in place to encourage students to act responsibly.

"We on this campus have really looked at developing a culture that emphasizes accountability, responsibility and education," said Roter.

Joe Sobralski and his friends have taken the message to heart. They created the off-campus organization known as Party.0. The group holds alcohol free parties for students as an alternative way to have fun.

"It's grown with tremendous support and a lot of the (fraternities and sororities) have supported it so that is exciting and I think more people need to realize that there are other ways to party without drinking," said Sobralski.

Other students say there isn't a culture of alcohol problems on campus as the report suggests. And they say students at UW-Oshkosh are no different from those at any of the other campuses on the list.

"The numbers don't lie at the end of the day and I think you have to look at that it is a college campus and it is going to happen," said Katie Neumann.

But Roter says it doesn't have to get out of hand.

"You don't have to get drunk on a weekend to have fun. You can be responsible and you can be held accountable."

Because university officials will be watching.

In all, 10 UW schools are ranked among the to 50 schools in the country for on-campus alcohol arrests.