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BIENNIAL REVIEW, Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (2016-2018)

Oklahoma City University complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 which requires institutions of higher education to design and implement alcohol and illicit drug programs on their campuses, as a condition of receiving federal funds. The Act also requires OKCU to provide a biennial review of its Alcohol and other Drugs Programs (AoD). The review requires the institution to:

  • Determine the program’s effectiveness
  • Ensure disciplinary sanctions described in its Alcohol and other Drugs policy are consistently enforced


Click HERE to access the University's Alcohol and other Drugs Policy


A. Determining Program’s Effectiveness

1. Philosophy of the University concerning Alcohol and Other Drugs

Beyond the legal requirements, OKCU is a faith-based University, embracing the traditions of the United Methodist Church. The rigorous curriculum focuses on Student’s intellectual, moral and spiritual development to prepare each student to become effective leaders in service to their communities. Oklahoma City University approaches alcohol and other drug abuse with compassion. Guidance is direct, firm, and supportive with proactive programs in place to educate students and employees.

2. Expectations Regarding Alcohol and Drugs

Students

Oklahoma City University does not allow possession, use, distribution, or sale of alcohol and drugs on campus, at University-sponsored events, or off-campus. Students found responsible of violating the policy will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. The rules, regulations, and related sanctions governing these expectations are available in the University Alcohol and other Drugs Policy (pertaining to students).

A copy is attached to this review.

Employees

The Human Resources Department has established policies regarding drug and alcohol use for employees, in accordance to federal regulations. Please refer to policies 7.01 and 7.02 contained in the online OKCU Staff Handbook. Every new employee also receives information on the Drug Free Schools Act through employee orientation sessions.

3. Prevention

The campus prevention program emphasizes preventive education and early intervention. The program avoids common red flags in prevention that have the specific or tertiary effect of instilling fear of alcohol and drugs. The goal is to create a non-threatening environment where students are encouraged to engage in meaningful discussions, prompt reflection, and an increased understanding of alcohol and drug related values, beliefs, and behavior. Any student experiencing substance abuse problems is encouraged, voluntarily, on a confidential basis, to report the problem to student counseling or any other trusted staff member. Included in this definition are student health professionals, housing, campus security, and the Dean of Students. In alignment with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Prevention Model, OKCU’s efforts are threefold: Universal, Selective, and Indicated prevention

Universal Prevention Offered to everyone regardless to the presence or absence of risk factors: A) New students are required to complete an online education module (on-line screener) prior to the beginning of the Fall Semester. This provides insight about those students/student groups who are at high risk of engaging in risky behaviors. B) Incoming first-year students and transfer students participate in education modules on alcohol and other drug policies, campus safety, sexual and dating violence, and harassment. Sessions are available for parents as well. C) All first-year students attend a mandatory educational session during Stars Week (Orientation) each fall. D) University staff and student groups sponsored educational programs that aim to educate students on the use and abuse of alcohol and other controlled substances.
Selective Prevention Activities targeted toward students or groups recommended through the online screener mentioned above. The University may require these students attendance to forums and guest speaking engagements centered around substance abuse prevention. Further screenings with a counselor regarding at-risk behaviors may also be required.
Indicated Prevention Directed at students who are identified through behavioral intervention[1] or treatment and will remain on case management status for the academic year, with recommendations for the ensuing academic school year to be determined by the appropriate staff. This is a form of post-intervention and encourages students to make healthy choices, follow treatment or counseling recommendations, and help deter future risk behaviors. It will helps quickly direct those students back to appropriate staff in instances of relapse.
Parents[2] and/or GuardiansParents are valued partners in the educational process and provide a strong foundation for prevention. During each Stars 101 (enrollment day) events, parents of prospect students attend an educational session at which Student Affairs’ staff discuss alcohol and other drugs on-campus, as well as the student conduct process. Parents of first-year student participate in Parent & Family Information Sessions during Orientation week. Parents receive mail-outs, emails, and social media updates on topics such as positive family support, healthy alternatives to stress, and communicating with emerging adults. The focus is to help parents communicate effectively and facilitate healthy life transitions.


4. Education

In keeping with a prevention-based foundation, Oklahoma City University will align itself with a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model. “Screening tests are a first-line defense in the prevention of disease” (NIAAA, 2005). Every first-year and incoming transfer student will be required to complete a pre-orientation online education module on alcohol and other drugs, by the first day of classes. If not completed by that time, a grade hold will be placed on the student’s account until the modules are completed. Additionally, the student may be charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. All screening activities will take place in a confidential setting and results will be treated as confidential information. Students identified as at-risk for potential addiction-related behavior will be referred to the University Counseling Center (UCC) for brief intervention (BI). A comprehensive list of substance abuse agencies in the community will be made available to all of those who are regarded as high at-risk as determined by the results of the UCC BI.

In this document, and for the purposes of the OKCU Prevention Program, use is defined as the use, abuse, of drug or alcohol by students but they are not dependent on the substance. Addiction is the use of drugs and alcohol with a dependency on them regardless of consequences.

On-campus alcohol and other drug education efforts include:

  • Letters to off-campus students sent at the beginning of the fall semester
  • Alcohol education informational pamphlets included in first-year student move-in packets
  • Informative poster campaign in residence halls at the beginning of the fall semester
  • Alcohol usage survey distributed each academic year[3]
  • Social media campaigns
  • Alcohol education events by staff and Student Government every term
  • Programming for National College Alcohol Awareness Week in October and Alcohol Awareness Month in April
  • University Counseling provides educational programming accessible to students.
Brief Intervention

Brief Intervention (BI) is provided at low cost on campus. Students under the age of 18 can self-refer to BI or are recommended by faculty/staff, policy infractions, and parents. Students over 18 are encouraged to contact University Counseling and set up their own appointment. The assessment tool currently used is the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory.

Referral to Treatment

Students who exhibit addictive behaviors have the option of attending treatment. A free referral to substance abuse treatment is provided to the student whose assessment results indicate a higher level of care. Counseling will refer them to treatment but will not recommend specific facilities. A list of accredited agencies in the area is available for the student to choose. This releases the university from any liability concerns stemming from the treatment modalities utilized.



[1] Information about the Oklahoma City University Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) and secure referral form is available on the University’s webpage

[2] If needed, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits Institutions of Higher Education to notify parents of students who are under the age of 21 about the student violation of the use or possession of alcohol and controlled substances.

[3] As of Fall 2016

B. Sanctions and Enforcement of Policy

While the major thrust of Oklahoma City University is drug education and prevention, the University takes take appropriate disciplinary actions on violations to its alcohol and controlled substances policies. This is to foster and provide a drug free environment in which students may grow intellectually and socially. Details on sanctions for violations to the Alcohol and other Drugs Policy are found in section 5 of the policy.

The Student Conduct Process

OKCU consistently enforces policies on alcohol and drugs through the Student Conduct process. Every report of student misconduct is investigated by university staff or police and referred to the Chief Conduct Officer (CCO). The CCO holds conduct hearings with students who have been found in violation of university police and administers sanctions. Every confirmed violation to the student code of conduct is filed in university judicial files as well on the individual student’s file (both confidential and protected under FERPA). In these hearings, students:

  • Are made aware of the reasons for being summoned
  • Are given an opportunity to tell their version of the events
  • Are required to confirm sanctions have been discussed with them

The Chief Conduct Officers is responsible for securing that students have completed their sanctions and of imposing further sanctions, up to and including expulsion, if needed. A sample of the student conduct process checklist used at every conduct hearing is available in Appendix C.

Current Data on Conduct Charges related to Alcohol and other Drugs

According to student conduct records (summarized in the table below), 73.3% percent of all conduct hearings and charges, between 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 academic years, were Alcohol and other Drugs incidents.

2016-2017

2017-2018

Total Conduct Hearings

65

51

Total Incidents of Alcohol and/or Drugs

50

35

Alcohol Violation

32

24

Drugs Violation

18

11

Conclusions of Biennial Review

Oklahoma City University is in compliance with Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. The current review concludes with the following observations:

  • Update[1] the language on student acknowledgment in the Admission’s policy and the Housing registration form to clarify student responsibility for and access to the Alcohol and other Drugs Policy
  • Change the schedule of the Alcohol and Drug use survey on campus from annual to once per term (Spring/Fall). This constant influx of data will help improve alcohol and drug education and prevention on campus.
  • Continue to provide AoD Programing that focus on alcohol abuse while enhancing efforts to address marijuana and prescription drug abuse.
  • Continue to change the culture of AoD among college students in addition to prevention, intervention, and harm reduction.
  • Integrate education and prevention programming through university activities and committees.
  • Use the Parent’s and Family Newsletter to share information on alcohol and drug use and prevention.
  • Make the focus of the student conduct process the redemption and reform of students minds and habits

[1] All changes recommended are already reflected in the evidence provided in the Appendixes

Appendixes

A. Distribution of the Alcohol and other Drugs Policy

Admissions Policy

In order to be considered for admission to Oklahoma City University, all students are required to read and acknowledge the Admission’s policy:

[…] Upon application for admissions, students are asked to Oklahoma City University recognizes its responsibilities as an educational institution to promote a productive student environment. This responsibility demands implementation of programs and services which facilitate that effort. Federal law requires the establishment of drug and alcohol prevention programs and the University prohibits the use of illegal drugs and alcohol in or on University owned or operated facilities. In order to meet these responsibilities and federal requirements, the University has established The Alcohol and other Drug Use Policy, which is included in the OKCU Student Code of Conduct and can be found in its entirety in the University website (Please click here to access the policy)

A student, who is convicted of a state or federal offense involving the possession or sale of an illegal drug that occurred while the student is enrolled in school and receiving Title IV aid, is not eligible for Title IV funds. A borrower’s eligibility is based on the student’s self-certification on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Convictions that are reversed, set aside or removed from the student’s record, or a determination arising from a juvenile court proceeding do not affect eligibility and do not need to be reported by the student.

Acknowledgment

By submitting an admissions application to Oklahoma City University, I acknowledge the following:

[…]

  • I have read and been informed about the Oklahoma City University’s Alcohol and other Drug Policy [click here to access the policy] I further understand that the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students is authorized to require those students who he/she has reasonable grounds to believe are improperly using or possessing controlled substances in violation of the University’s Drug Use policy to participate in the drug screening program.

Communication from the Dean of Students

This electronic communication is sent to all students at the beginning of the academic year. It is also sent to all new and transfer students that are registered midway through the academic year at the beginning of the Spring term.


Housing Registration Form

As part of the requirements to use /University Housing, all resident students sign/acknowledge a hard copy of the Housing Registration form, which contains the following text:

  • Alcohol and Other Drug Use Policy – Oklahoma City University is to be a safe environment free from alcohol and other drugs. It recognizes that the use of alcohol and illegal drugs diminishes the strength and vitality of human resources and the integrity of the institution. It is the intent of the university to educate and encourage students to abstain from alcohol and other drugs. Any student found using or distributing alcohol and other drugs on campus, in on-campus housing, or during campus sponsored activities can face disciplinary action by the administration. The action may include a drug assessment, referral for counseling, and/or treatment as recommended by a university approved counselor or counseling service. Every OKCU student is required, upon admission, to read and acknowledge the Alcohol and other Drug policy found in its entirety here: https://www.okcu.edu/students/conduct. Every OKCU student is responsible for the contents of this policy


B. Campus wide Educational Programs and Awareness Campaigns