Feb 262007
 
Authors: Emily Lance

CSU’s alcohol and drug court program is now being used as model for campuses across the country.

“Back on TRAC” (Treatment, Responsibility and Accountability on Campus) is a drug court model in which alcohol policy violators can apply to take random drug tests and to meet with caseworkers on a regular basis.

Administrators from Northwestern University, North Dakota State University, the University of Georgia and Oklahoma State University visited CSU the first week of February to learn about this alcohol policy.

Pat Daugherty, assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia, has been working with a team of administrators to implement the program at the university.

“We liked everything about (the program),” Daugherty said last week. “They use a team approach to everything. We like that approach.”

A staffing review team was implemented to aid the students with some of the problems associated with alcohol and drugs on campus. The program is in its sixth year at CSU and currently has 40 students enrolled in the program.

“The program is for students who have been dismissed for drug and alcohol problems,” Weber said. “It gives students the opportunity to deal with their problems.”

Policy violators meet with caseworkers, counselors and judicial workers weekly. Students also meet for open-case review sessions, during which caseworkers ask about their progress and personal lives. Students are able to treat mood disorders, learning disabilities and other disorganizations while they continue toward a degree.

Jim Weber, clinical coordinator for Drugs, Alcohol and You (DAY) program, a part of the Back on TRAC program, has seen 70 percent of the students graduate after entering in the program. About 30 percent of students who don’t fully complete the program will oftentimes come back and go through the program again.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Weber said. “A lot of the students are very bright and natural student leaders. It would be stupid to kick them out.”

CSU currently accepts students after they have been suspended but the other universities are looking at ideas of deferred suspension and recommendations from assessments and the health center.

“The majority of the students are not chemically dependent,” Weber said. “It is a lot better to help them at this age before they become dependent.”

Students in the programs pay a $200 fee for drug screenings. Officials from each area are assigned to testing and keeping students accountable. They also meet regularly to discuss logistics in the individual cases

“This is not a bail ’em out program, this is tough love,” Daugherty said. “It is an educational approach to a problem we are all dealing with.”

Cameron Taylor, a junior equine science major, sees the Back on TRAC program as reinforcing good behavior.

“It allows them to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles that are getting in their way, namely themselves,” Taylor said. “Just kicking them out would just push them into more trouble and down a path of alcoholism.”

Staff writer Emily Lance can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Information box: The number of alcohol violation arrests on campus by year.

2003: 371

2004: 291

2005: 218

Source: CSU Police Department

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