• Maxient helps advance research on alcohol sanctioning

    February 28, 2012 Aaron Hark News

    Maxient is proud to lend a hand to our colleagues Drs. Don Gehring, Carolyn Palmer, and John Wesley Lowery as they advance research in the area of alcohol sanctioning.  Below you will find information on the study they’re conducting and how you and your campus can help.  If you’re interested, be sure to tell Dr. Lowery that you’re a Maxient client.  To make things easier, we’ll enable a special data gathering report within your Maxient analytics section.  We’ll also pre-load your system with the standard student letters to be distributed during the study.  Participating in meaningful research has never been so easy!



    At ASCA, Don Gehring, Carolyn Palmer, and I presented on the first phase of our research on Students’ Views of Effective Alcohol Sanctions on College Campuses. You can actually view the handout from our session, Doing What Matters in Alcohol Sanctions:  Research on What Students Think, on-line ow.ly/d/unG .

    We also announced our plans for the next phase of the research which will take place later this spring. We are currently identifying administrators who would be willing to forward the survey to 10 students who have been found responsible for violating institutional alcohol policies. If you are interested in participating, please email me directly at jlowery@iup.edu. I have included additional information below regarding our research and its next phase.

    Students’ Views of Effective Alcohol Sanctions on College Campuses

    The research team is seeking student conduct administrators to participate in a second national study of Students’ Views of Effective Alcohol Sanctions On College Campuses. A brief description of and the results of the first study appear below. This second study will be conducted in the same manner as the first study with the exception that administrators will not be asked to complete an Administrator Survey, but only to forward an email Student Survey to ten randomly selected students who have been found responsible for an alcohol violation in the previous six (6) months. Administrators who participate will be entered into a pool for a drawing for one of five Kindle Fires. All students who participate and elect to do so will also be entered into a pool for a drawing for one of twenty (20) Kindle Fires.  To participate in the study please give your business card or a copy of your name, address, email address and phone number to any one of the three researchers (Drs. Gehring, Lowery or Palmer) who are attending the conference. You can also email Dr. Lowery, before March 1, 2012, to participate. A copy of the Executive Summary of the second study will also be made available to those administrators requesting one.

    The primary purposes of the first national study, which was the first of its kind, were to explore sanctions imposed on college students who violated institutional alcohol policies and to assess the effectiveness of these sanctions in deterring students from repeating these behaviors in the future. The characteristics of students, institutions, policies, and procedures, along with specific types of incidents and both pre-incident and post-incident factors were examined in relation to initial and repeated violations of policies regarding underage and excessive drinking.

    In March 2011, 688 student conduct administrators were contacted by e-mail and asked to complete a brief survey designed to collect information about their institutions, student populations, and disciplinary incidents involving alcohol policy violations. They were also asked to forward an e-mail message with a link to another survey to 10 randomly selected students who had violated their institutional alcohol policies during the previous six months. A total of 230 administrators and 154 students submitted surveys.

    Most of the violations reported by students involved underage drinking in combination with noise and other disruptive behaviors, particularly in residence halls. However, almost 20% said they had engaged in excessive drinking combined with behaviors that posed a significant threat to themselves or others (for example, driving while intoxicated or alcohol poisoning requiring hospitalization).

    Student responses suggest that colleges and universities may be focused on less effective sanctions and are less likely to use sanctions that students believe are more effective. More than half of the students were required to participate in alcohol education programs as a sanction. Monetary fines, community service, and warnings not to repeat the behavior were also used as sanctions. However, only 39% of the students said that these and other common sanctions were deterrents, whereas 79% said that such sanctions simply make students more cautious so as not to get caught in the future. According to the students, some of the more effective sanctions include receiving an alcohol assessment, participating in an alcohol treatment program, having parents notified, and being involved in the criminal justice system. However, few students said they had been required to have an alcohol assessment  (13%) or to participate in an alcohol treatment program (16%), perhaps because so few institutions measure the blood alcohol level of students, making it difficult to justify requiring alcohol assessment or treatment. Finally, fewer than half of the students had their parents notified by an institutional official and fewer than half had been involved in the criminal justice system.

    One other interesting finding was that female students were three times as likely as male students to stop binge drinking after experiencing the disciplinary process.

    The data generated by this study, while based on a limited sample, provided useful information and yielded a number of suggestions that should be considered if institutions want to deter students from violating institutional alcohol policies. The data also demand that specifically targeted institutional assessment be conducted to determine effective sanctions for different campuses.

    Both studies have been funded by the Century Council in cooperation with the Association for Student Conduct Administration and the National Judicial College.



    John Wesley Lowery, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, SAHE Department
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    206 Stouffer Hall
    Indiana, PA 15705
    724-357-4535 office
    Visit www.iup.edu/sahe
    Twitter: @drjwlowery