Monday, April 03, 2006
Drinking and drowning
They drink, they get drunk, and they drown.

That's the tragic scenario that plays out far too often in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where there are lots of college campuses and lots of water. In that region alone, twelve college students have wound up dead in the water over the past decade after wandering away from a party or bar following a long night of drinking.

For "360's" ongoing series on alcoholism, we took a closer look at this phenomenon through the eyes of Patrick Kycia's family. Patrick died last fall after leaving a fraternity party at Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. His body was found four days later. No foul play is suspected.

The party Patrick went to that night was just six blocks from his apartment, yet he wound up more than two miles away in the other direction...in the Red River.

Patrick's mother told us she had nightmares for weeks after his death that she was drowning. She'd wake up gagging. That is what a tragedy like this can do to a family. Patrick's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

I've talked with half a dozen parents who lost children this way. Each story involves a great kid who had too much to drink. It breaks your heart. Colleges are trying to make students more aware of what's happening and so are families. But the tragic events continue.

What do you think should be done? And whose responsibility is it to make sure this doesn't happen again?
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 12:48 PM ET
  53 Comments
For so many college and university students, this is the first time they are on their own, and they are making adults decisions without ever understanding the ramifications of their actions. We need to educate people on what can happen if they are so intoxicated. We need to consider using Patrick Kycia as an example so that it can save someone's else life in the future.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki Ferguson, Calgary, Alberta : 1:06 PM ET
Who among us has not made really bad judgment calls in their youth? It seems to me, when we are in our teens and early twenties; we have no real concept of our mortality or the finality of our actions. It appears to be a lesson we learn as we live and unless we have the ability to infuse this information in kids at an earlier age, tragic mistakes will continue to be made by young people attempting to have a good time.
Posted By Anonymous Christine, Canton, OH : 1:13 PM ET
People need to take personal responsibility for their actions, that is what "should be done." I know this sounds harsh and cold; and I want to stress that this post is in no way to disgrace the victims or their grieving families. But the responsibility lies in the individuals themselves to drink responsibly, not the universities, bars, clubs, etc. It seems the trend these days is to find someone to blame or hold responsible when tragedy strikes.
The only advice I can think of for this situation is if people want to go out and get throshed, to go with a group or a buddy so you will have someone to watch your back. This will help deter tragedies like the ones we just read.
Posted By Anonymous JP, Las Cruces, New Mexico : 1:23 PM ET
What should be done? You're kidding, right? Nothing should be done. Life is hazardous. As far as whose responsibility is to make sure this doesn't happen again - it's no one's responsibility. Personal safety is a personal responsibility. And it will happen again. Nice bit of "journalism." Twelve kids in two states dead over the last decade (that's ten years). And this is news?
Posted By Anonymous Brian Keenan, Chapel Hill NC : 1:28 PM ET
Drinking is one's own personal responsibility. When an accidental death occurs that causes harm to only one's self that's what it is - an accident. Real tragedy happens when drinking causes death/harm to another - harming yourself is your responsibility and no one else's.

I grew up in Northeastern Minnesota and know better than to drink and hop in the water. If you want to stop accidents where alcohol is a contributor you would have to crack down on underage alcohol use.
Posted By Anonymous Mike N., Washington DC : 1:29 PM ET
People have been drinking and drowning for years and years. The media is only drawing attention to it now. People in Georgia did not know about people drinking and drowning in Wisconsin (and visa versa) years ago because it was not covered by the local newspapers or because the internet had not yet been invented. It's old news.

What should be done? Don't drink too much. Who is responsible? The drinker.
Posted By Anonymous Bobby Jarrett, North Augusta, SC : 1:33 PM ET
Speaking from personal experience, my grandfather died as a result of drinking and water. He was going out one night to his boat, and as he untied the front line, he fell off the dock, hit his head on the side of the boat and drowned.
The responsibility relies solely on the one who decides to drink. This is one of the many reasons why I quit after being in Germany for two years, and drinking sometimes up to three or four six packs, or even half gallons of liquor. Alcohol is an evil I never thought I would recognize, and now that I do, I'm glad i quit.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Ft Knox Kentucky : 1:35 PM ET
I think Americans have mystified the drinking for kids. I never understand why the kids can have sex or drive a car before they can drink. We should have educated our kids more about drinking before they turn to the legal drinking age. IMHO, we should allow them to experience drinking, perhaps get drunk once or twice, in our homes with us before they go to college.
Posted By Anonymous Trinity, Dallas, TX : 1:35 PM ET
I cannot believe you would ask such a question! The responsibility relies soley on the heads of those who put the glass to their lips and take drink after drink. What person does not know what happens when you drink excessively? It is always someone else's fault, someone else's responsibility, etc..etc..
Posted By Anonymous Sandy, Dallas, Tx : 1:37 PM ET
Being a college student myself, students just need to be more responsible. A buddy system works well. Have someone have your back, take somewhat of the role a DD has except without having to drive. Responsibility lies amoung the students, who are adults.
Posted By Anonymous Caleb Cleveland TN : 1:37 PM ET
im a college student from arkansas, and part of the summer tradition is going up to the lake. Drinking is a huge part of going up there and being with your friends. I think the maturity is a big role in drinking and with my friends, one person always stays sober so that they can keep an eye on the others. That isn't always the case with students these days. I believe that the older you are, you will know your limit, but when you are in an atmosphere of peer pressure, it can get ugly. Just like the story i just read. Teens are responsible for their actions and not anyone else. I know I am responsible for myself. Parents could do a check up when they know their kids will be away. All i have to say, since i am a young adult, is parents should bug their children by calling and sharing their feelings about what they are doing. Believe me, they will listen and it will be on their minds.
Posted By Anonymous Michaela, Fort Smith, AR : 1:38 PM ET
I do not understand the need to drink. Why drink. I am 55 years old and have never used alcohol or drugs, yet I lived through the 1970's and you must know what that was like.

Ericka A. Holman
Posted By Anonymous Ericka A. Holman, Jamaica Estates, N.Y. : 1:38 PM ET
There's no solution for stupidity.
Posted By Anonymous Flopsy, Camp Hill, PA : 1:39 PM ET
Sure, we could educate college student more. Tell them about the risks of being in a new environment and the dangers of binge drinking. Provide mandatory orientation sessions and give them information when they arrive on campus. That may work for some students, but it is not going to work for everyone.

The cruel thing about alcohol is that the first thing it impairs is the ability to tell whether or not you're impaired. You may know ahead of time how much you want to drink, but add alcohol and that judgment is thrown off.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Wakefield, RI : 1:41 PM ET
This is a sad and tragic occurance, but as a recent college graduate who did her fair share of partying, there is really only one individual who can be held responsible, the drinker. Yes, it's important to inform college kids of the dangers of drinking, whether it be through the parents or the college, but ultimately, it is their decision and no one can be held responsible save themselves for their actions. These are kids, but they are over 18. They are in charge of their own well-being at this point.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte, Burlington, VT : 1:48 PM ET
Drinking and swimming have long been going together. Not much you can do about it. Maybe its natures way of thinning out the gene pool.
Posted By Anonymous Greg Groton, ma : 1:53 PM ET
What I want to know ,since many college students are under the legal drinking age , how are they getting the alchohol? Perhaps we need to up the age for legal drinking to the average age a student graduates from college..is some cases it may be 23 or 24 years old.. I say we make it an even 25 years old and leave it at that.
Posted By Anonymous mary mansfield texas : 1:58 PM ET
I have a hard time believing that all of these kids (mostly young men)are ending up in the water on their own.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Milwaukee, WI : 2:02 PM ET
Whose responsibility is it? Its the student who is. Why is always someone else's fault for something stupid like this. Wake Up America, take your life into your own hands and stop blaming society for an accident. If anything should be done, kids should be allowed to drink and to experience the effects drinking has on them instead of demonizing it.
Posted By Anonymous 1LT Kirby Hergert, Arifjan Kuwait : 2:06 PM ET
I live in a college town, and it seems like most campuses do attempt to somewhat educate their students as to the dangers of drinking (how much can really you do? They're technically adults), but often their ability to curb serious binge drinking is hindered simply by the overwhelming support of a heavy-drinking/party culture by the students themselves. Until students want to make some changes in how positively they and their peers respond to binge drinking, there's not going to be much the colleges themselves can do to stop these sad things from happening.
Posted By Anonymous April, Lawrence, KS : 2:07 PM ET
The responsibility with drinking has to be with the person consuming the alcohol.However,as a society that promotes drinking (adds are especially
geared towards young adults )there needs to be an equal amount of educational adds to create more awareness of the health risks!Just like the adds not to smoke, its about time we admitt , alcohol is also a killer .We wouldn't sell cocaine at the corner store or offer it by the keg at parties so its interesting how we think we can with a liquid drug like booze.Lives end trying to have fun and live up to others expectations
that drinking is cool.
More awareness in schools and public gathering places might help?
Posted By Anonymous Mrs.Montgomery,Vancouver,BC,Canada : 2:10 PM ET
Jacob, Patrick, Joshua, Chris, the list is almost endless. There's certainly far more than a dozen in the past decade.

These deaths are senseless tragedies. We only teach our children that drinking alcohol is off limits, and by making it taboo, we make it a mystery. By ignoring the opportunity to teach our young people about the effects of drinking, we in turn neglect to account for their own curiosity about that which is forbidden. In college, where the parents are no longer the authority, our youth learn on their own about what happens when you drink to excess. Some people realize early that loosing the ability to walk and talk is pretty stupid. Some people take longer. Some people never learn. By ignoring the chance to teach our own children that getting drunk is not necessarily the purpose of drinking, we leave them even more susceptible to peer pressure than they already are. In turn, we leave them even more likely to abuse this particular drug. We teach our children to hold our hands when we cross the street, we don't tell them to close their eyes and pretend there's no traffic. Alcohol is a part of American culture, simply saying don't drink too much, and ignoring the prevalence of alcohol in our society will not work. We must do a better job of teaching our children to avoid the dangers of excessive drinking, rather than simply turning a blind eye.

In many of these cases, these men were drinking with friends, and simply wandered off alone to meet their fate. As a rule, you should never travel alone, especially while intoxicated. Party goers must stick together, and use the buddy system.

In many of these cases, those who were lost were over served at a bar. It's a mystery why no bar tender is ever charged in these cases.

Finally, not everyone who has lost their life in the waters of the Midwest has been intoxicated to the point of incapacitation. The death of Chris Jenkins, who was my friend, remains a mystery. His BAC was most likely less than 1.3, which while over the legal limit for driving, certainly was not enough to cause him to wander in to the Mississippi River. Chris was kicked out of the Lone Tree Bar in downtown Minneapolis, without being allowed to call a cab, retrieve his wallet, keys, or cell phone. Chris was forced to walk home by some uncaring bouncer and\or off duty policeman working security, where he met his untimely fate. As the Lone Tree is a known hang out for local police, the investigation in to his disappearance and death was impeded at every turn by the MPD.

These deaths are indeed senseless tragedies. Every single death was, and will continue to be, preventable. We need better judgment on the part of the party goers, greater accountability for bars who over serve, and most importantly, a greater penchant for treating our fellow human beings with kindness and respect.
Posted By Anonymous Adam Gamradt, Bloomington, MN : 2:13 PM ET
I live in La Crosse, Wisconsin- a small town home to two universities and a technical college. There was a college student found in the Mississippi river, blocks away from the many downtown bars in La Crosse who drowned after drinking too much a year or so ago. Instead of facing the death for what it was, several people began raising fears of a serial killer as the cause for his death. It became a joke for the rest of us- 'alcohol', La Crosse's serial killer. Still, this accusation detracted from the very real problem that exists with the combination of binge drinking, large number of downtown bars, and the close proximity of La Crosse's rivers- a problem that the city of La Crosse is trying to solve.
Posted By Anonymous Mari-Ann Sartin-Tarm, La Crosse WI : 2:13 PM ET
It's a sad waste when otherwise brilliant young people make stupid decisions.

Ultimately the responsibility for making sure this kind of thing doesn't happen rests on the shoulders of our children. All we can do as parents is educate them and hope they live to regret their mistakes.
Posted By Anonymous Andrea L, Stoney Creek, ON : 2:21 PM ET
Hi Randi, Anderson and crew,

I am a university student in Halifax, Canada, and we have a program here to promote responsible drinking on and off-campus. The society at my university is called the DRAFT team.. Drink Responsibly And Feel Terrific)their idea is you can have fun without having too much to drink.

The committee is made up of students and staff and put on various events across campus during the school year, and especially Frosh/Orientation week.

The events that are put on by the society, are not only fun, but very informative too. Sessions and pamphlets on "females and alcohol use", "Sleep and alcohol", "Binge Drinking" and many other topics.

Here is the website for the DRAFT team for anyone interested: http://www.smu.ca/administration/studentservices/draft.html

Cheers,

Laura

P.S. Keep up the great work!
Posted By Anonymous Laura C. Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada : 2:21 PM ET
^^ following my 'other comment' because i hit enter accidently i will finish it here:
--------------
Of course people think that these happenings are someone elses 'fault' but they really aren't. In fact it's the drinkers fault, along with the alcohol provider's fault. See, if those who are supplying the party were responsible enough to limit the number of drinks or have someone there to limit them, everything would be a little bit better. Then again, even if their wansn't the drinkers should take control (depsite being not completely clean & sober) of drinking and make sure they set a self-limit and enforce it. You can't blame what's already happened on anyone. I'm not targeting anyone, or anything, or certain individuals, I'm just a 'simple-teenage-girl' stating my opinion. TO say the least, nothing really can be done to prevent this. Nothing at all.
Posted By Anonymous Ashley Bryan, North Brunswick, NJ : 2:23 PM ET
I lived in Wisconsin nearly my whole life except for the 12 years I lived in Minnesota. The likelyhood of even a drunk on foot falling into a river is almost non-existant. When young men started "going missing" in Milwaukee I had a real strong hunch we had a serial murderer. And we did. I have a very strong hunch all these missing college boys are also victims of a serial murderer.
Just take a look at the "falling in the river" statistics going back a few years. Or compare that with the often highly impaired homeless people. Being drunk is pretty uniform across many age groups, but fishing their bodies out of rivers isnt.
Posted By Anonymous Ingrid, Milwaukee, WI : 2:27 PM ET
The people truly responsible for making sure this doesn't happen again are the college students themeslves. Personal responsibility should be expected of adults, and as much as overprotective parents like to see their kids as children, students are adults. It's a very sad thing to lose a life so young, but college students (and I know because I am one) are very aware of their drinking limits, whether they choose to follow them or not, and they also know they should stick with friends when they go out, whether they choose to follow that advice or not. The best prevention method I see would be to make the drinking age younger so that kids learn to drink with their family, learn their limits in a safe environment, learn drinking is a personal responsibility, and then realize drinking is not such a big deal!
Posted By Anonymous Kara, Washington DC : 2:28 PM ET
Unfortunately, this is all too common all across the country-college kids dying after drinking too much. The problem is they are adults. It would be difficult to say that it is the anyone's much less the University's responsibility to keep them from drinking or their parents. I think educating people about drinking, about the dangers of overconsumption is really about all we can do. Trying to instill a sense of responsibility is key, but wisdom is not taught. Most people who've gone out drinking in their younger years can think of a time they've had a brush with danger that could have turned out much worse than it did, these adult children in your article are the ones for whom it did turn out the worst. Although these instances are extremely tragic, as a society we cannot legislate legal adults' lives.
Posted By Anonymous Julie S. Roanoke VA : 2:31 PM ET
My 49 yr old brother almost drowned last summer swimming in a river while drunk. It was a tree limb that caught him and saved him. He knew it was all over. I'm an alcoholic and my brother has accepted that he is also. If we are to stop this awful tragedy we have to start with the alcohol industry/lobby. Alcohol is pushed on us all day every day whether you're of legal age or not. It is advertised to young people everywhere. We can't make it illegal (war on drugs, whatever)we know that doesn't work but the industry controls too much of our governement. It has to start at the top because you're not going to get the people that are drinking now to stop. But...our next generation doesn't have to live like this.
Posted By Anonymous Judith McLean, Beaverton, Oregon : 2:31 PM ET
It is my belief that the only way to help prevent further incidents such as these is to do the exact thing that you are doing, publicizing them. Get these stories out there, get discussion going, and make young adults aware that they are not invincible. Having these stories in the back of their head as they reach for a bottle may help them make a smarter choice. As a college student myself, I see numerous examples of intelligent, honorable students getting into bad situations due to alcohol and its unfortunate side effects. Yet when you boil it down to who's to blame when things like this happen, you have nooone to blame but the students themselves. It is their bad decisions that eventually cost them, and sometimes the costs are tragic. You can put up all the restrictions you want, set up all the anti-alchohol programs you can, but students who wish to drink irresponsibly will always find a way to fill their cup.
Posted By Anonymous Andrew, Boston MA : 2:32 PM ET
Drinking and drowning ... drinking and freezing to death ... I feel for the families.

However, unlike drinking and driving, they're not risking other people's lives. Deaths due to drunk drivers is the truly tragic events.
Posted By Anonymous Michael D, Griffin, Two Rivers, Alaska : 2:35 PM ET
We need to stop glamourizing the college experience by depicting it in movies and television as a big party filled with debauchery. I think at the legal age, it is appropriate to drink, but not at the point where you are drunk. I attend college and I see people abusing alchol. Some people feel that they are entitled to have this "Animal House" experience, even if it is detrimental to themselves and others. As a society, I think we have to paint a more responsible picture of the effects and consequences of debauchery.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer C., Dallas,TX : 2:36 PM ET
I've been involved in tackling the college drinking scene as both a college student leader and now as a profession - having founded a company that does online alcohol prevention courses for hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. For as long as I've been at it, I'm still amazed at what a problem it is. We have only begun to dent it...at best.

Research we've conducted for the past five years has shown consistently that college is indeed a major catalyst for student drinking. Though it is true that many students pick up this behavior in high school, there is a surprising percentage that not only start in college but dramatically increase their drinking in college. We have data this past fall of 2005 from over 200,000 college students on hundreds of campuses. It shows that from July 15 through October 20 of their freshmen year the "binge" or high-risk drinking rate increases by 100%. Likewise, the problematic rate (10+ drinks in a night) increases by 183%. And abstention decreases by 50%. This all happens in about the first 6 weeks of school! So, we can conclude that something about the college experience is not only NOT deterring drinking but encouraging it.

I think parents and colleges need to quit this "there's nothing we can do about it" attitude and start understanding that there are plenty of things we can do to promote a safer environment and norm on campuses. Students tell us in spades that there are ways to encourage alternatives to drinking - and that's what they expect from us. Not the typical "college students will drink and boys will be boys" type of attitude. And to many people's surprise not only are college students asking for alternatives but they are also asking for real leadership on the issue. They want someone in a leadership role to stand up and say "it's not ok to get drunk." Suspend your thoughts about the legal drinking age for a moment and just appreciate that alcohol is a dangerous thing that does little to accomplish what most people use it for - friends, romance, stress relief. All I've ever seen is the opposite.

There are many skeptics out there that think this problem can't be curbed. It can. And where leaders get serious - on campus and otherwise - it does get curbed. It's surprising how far you can get with something as simple as commitment. But that's really it. The magic potion.
Posted By Anonymous Brandon Busteed, Needham, MA : 2:38 PM ET
Having grown up drinking and driving adn doing other things that were questionable it seems that a lot of it is random. I did learn a few times the hard way and did not repeat the same mistakes. It usally takes the authorities to intervene and wake you up from your fog.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, New Canaan, CT : 2:51 PM ET
Going to wild parties and getting drunker than you've ever been in your life was a rite of passage when I was a college freshman eight years ago, and clearly not much has changed since then. I think a lot of it has to do with the pressure to fit in, which I thought was even worse in college than in high school. And then there's the invincibility factor. I am a fairly smart, levelheaded woman, but I did many stupid things between the ages of 18 and 22 than horrify and astound me to this day. I'm sure a lot of us can say the same thing.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that once you turn 18, you are considered an adult and you are responsible for your actions. Ideally your parents raise you with a healthy attitude toward alcohol. Hopefully college campuses educate their students about alcohol abuse. But when something like this happens, it is not the parent's fault and it is not the school's fault. The adult who made the really bad choice is the only person we can ultimately hold responsible.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Baltimore, MD : 2:52 PM ET
It is the students responsibility and theirs alone. If they are old enough to drive a car, be in college, work...they are responsible to make a decision on when to stop drinking. I personally have sympathy only for the families left behind. What a sad and pathetic way to lose a loved one. Totally and completely preventable.
Posted By Anonymous Shannon, Ottawa, ON : 2:52 PM ET
Parents need to take responsibility VERY early in a child's upbringing regarding alcohol. They need to set an example with their own alcohol useage habits, closely monitor their adolescent children's activities from a very young age regarding their friends and whereabouts, and talk to their children at every opportunity about the consequences of irresponsible alcohol useage. Parents need to give children a sense of self worth and be certain that their children can resist peer pressure to drink to excess without fear of rejection.
Posted By Anonymous Helen Bearden, Plano, TX : 2:53 PM ET
Any fan of Jeff Buckley knew where this story was going by the headline.

Tragic.
Posted By Anonymous Jamie: Boston, MA : 2:56 PM ET
When our children are small, we teach them to beware of strangers, preteens we warn about the hazards of drug use. But drinking is still portrayed as a necessary rite of passage for teens. We need to educate our YOUNG children about the dangers of drinking excessively, and hope that they make smarter choices as young adults.
Posted By Anonymous Robin, San Clemente, CA : 2:57 PM ET
I believe it is the drinker's responsibility to maintain control at all times. It should not be up to someone else to make sure people don't do stupid stuff that could result in their death.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Fort Worth Texas : 2:58 PM ET
Being from Wisconsin this is an all too come occurence in the news...but they are just proving Darwin correct, the weak and stupid get culled out of a population, making its genetic pool stronger. This is just an instance when the individual culls itself out....
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 3:11 PM ET
Parents that view your coverage of this problem can use it as an opportunity to begin communicating with their children about the dangers. The children (including young adults) can "see for themselves" the heartache it causes for the families that have been affected. We can only pray that it makes an impact, where they will be more careful in their consumption.
Posted By Anonymous Connie Lee - Red Lake Indian Reservation - Minnesota : 3:11 PM ET
What is missing in these tragic incidents is, taking responsibility. It applies to the drinkers, for sure, but it should also apply to the enablers- the party hosts. Underage drinking should not be condoned. However, laws could be adapted to hold the hosts or property owner responsible for damages or death experienced by the party guests who are allowed to leave in an impaired condition.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Indy, Fishers, IN : 3:14 PM ET
It's sad that these students died this way. But really, are you serious? You really think this is a "tragic scenario that plays out far too often"? Twelve deaths, across two states, in the past decade is barely a blip.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Jacksonville Florida : 3:15 PM ET
I am a college student that has experienced the death of a friend and classmate due to an alcohol related drowning. I agree that there needs to be personal accountability for one's actions but I think our nation needs to re-examine our alcohol policy. I believe binge drinking is a result, not of poor education, but of poor training. When I went to get my Driver's License at 16 I had to spend 6 months as a permit driver before I could take the test to become a licensed driver. Young adults have no drinking 'permit.' Instead we are thrown into a culture, often college or bars with people of similar ages, without any knowledge of responsible drinking or social drinking habits. This knowledge needs to be taught by parents so young adults know how to act at parties, dinners, and social functions where alcohol is present. If young adults learn responsible consumption habits before leaving the home I believe they will be less apt to participate in binge drinking.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Richmond, VA : 3:15 PM ET
Responsibility for an adult lies with that same adult! We need to start taking responsibility and quit blamming others for our own mistakes!
Posted By Anonymous Victor Rousseu, SF, Ca. : 3:20 PM ET
If the drinking is "on campus" it is the school's responsibility to enforce their policy of no under age drinking. If the student (or anyone else) is of legal age to drink, it is each person's responsibility to take care of themselves. No one else can do it for them. If one does not use good judgment, it's their own fault.
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Lincoln Park, MI : 3:28 PM ET
Alcohol misuse is a serious societal problem. For the past two years, a Minnesota State University Moorhead task force has focused on student misuse of alcohol. The university's alcohol policies have been reviewed, including enforcement provisions for off-campus incidents involving students. Alcohol has never been permitted on campus.

MSU Moorhead's student orientation includes information about alcohol, which is shared with family members who attend. An ongoing campus advertising campaign aims to educate the campus about the dangers of alcohol misuse, especially so-called binge drinking. Beginning in the fall, first-year students will be required to take a course on alcohol issues.

The University has worked closely with local legislators to limit binge drinking practices like "power hours" and the use of alcohol inhaling devices, and to clarify the university's ability to contact parents when alcohol misuse threatens the health and well-being of a student. The latter initiative has to do with state privacy issues, which pertain to young people over the age of 18.

In addition, the campus and the communities of Moorhead and neighboring Fargo, ND, have held numerous meetings and forums to engage students and community members in discussions about the dangers of alcohol misuse and the importance of assisting people who are dangerously intoxicated.

The house associated with the incident referred to by Randi Kaye is not on the campus, but nearby. It is a rental property and at the time several of its renters included members of a campus fraternity. The incident and related issues prompted a review of community policies for rental property, particularly private homes that have been converted to apartments, as is often the case near campuses. That discussion continues.

The University, the national fraternity and the local chapter reached a decision on October 21, 2005, to end the local chapter's status as a recognized student organization. Several former fraternity members have since been adjudicated in connection with the party that preceded Patrick Kycia's death.
Posted By Anonymous Doug Hamilton, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, MN : 10:59 AM ET
I am a college student. Most of us witness and join in on the drinking scene. The problem with kids and drinking is immaturity and irresponsibility. It is a matter of knowing your limits and knowing when to stop drinking. Its not so much the schools responsibility because I know that my school has speakers come in and give talks about experiences they went through losing a child who died with alcohol involved and kids attend these speaches then go right back to binge drinking. I don't know if it is something that can be controlled, theres already laws saying kids under 21 cant drink but most deaths i hear about involving alcohol are with kids under 21. Kids just need to be more responsible.
Posted By Anonymous jackie, beverly, MA : 12:18 PM ET
I attend one of the colleges where this has happened, and it's hard to say, "this needs to be done" because students are going to go out and drink regardless of what happens. Everyone always thinks, "It'll never happen to me," and they don't realize that it COULD happen to them. I've heard that the bars here lead right to the river when you go out the back door (I don't really go to the bars, for other reasons), and that's pretty sketchy. I say, have a designated driver, be with a group of RESPONSIBLE friends, make sure someone is sober in your group at the end of the night. Hopefully we can keep these tragedies from occurring more often than they do, but these things are inevitable, especially here where there's lots of alcohol and lots of water.
Posted By Anonymous Sherry, Eau Claire, WI : 12:19 PM ET
You can drink without getting "toasted."
Posted By Anonymous Ladine Atlanta, GA : 3:39 PM ET
Those who don't know the effects of alcohol before going to college are sadly ignorant. Having alcohol "education" programs is a waste of time and resources. Oh, and to those who say "raise the drinking age..." Do you really think it will stop people? Many alcohol related deaths are caused by underage drinkers already. And "underage" is a relative term... I'm not really sure we need the government to tell us when we're mature enough to cosume legal drugs like alcohol.
Posted By Anonymous Phil -- Cleveland, OH : 9:03 AM ET
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