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UC Santa Cruz reports a drop in arrests for drug crimes in 2013

An annual study conducted by a prominent website ranked the University of California, Santa Cruz as the country's leader in administering drug-related discipline to students for the calendar year 2013. The study is really referring to drug referrals made through university channels. The number of arrests on campus for drug crimes was far lower and could even be considered insignificant.

The report gave the status to UC Santa Cruz for the second year in a row. It reports that one in every 14 students was referred for a disciplinary review in 2013. A university spokesperson stated that the university was being singled out for simply being proactive in doing its job.

The fact is that, despite the high number of drug-related referrals, the suspension rate for such offenses is quite low, according to the university's spokesperson. That means that the school is taking its counseling intervention efforts seriously and succeeding in them. There were 1,214 students referred in 2013.

On the other hand, campus police made only eight drug arrests in 2013, down from 17 in 2012. The school also pointed out that its policy is to make referrals for anyone even in the vicinity of an incident, which thus inflates the numbers somewhat artificially. Furthermore, comparing the numbers with other universities without taking into consideration the procedures and policy of each is making a kind of blind comparison that allows for no real conclusion to be made.

The drop in drug crimes and arrests in 2013 is perhaps the best statistic for the university to tout. It indicates an actual drop in drug usage and may reflect efforts to provide counseling and other non-disciplinary interventions. Furthermore, the statistics do not necessarily take into account that the perspective on drug usage is being reconsidered in California and that reporting measures for drug crimes should reflect the new drug policies voted into existence by voters in statewide referendums. For example, referrals for marijuana are becoming obsolete in the state due to legalization of the drug for medical uses and an impending movement in the state that is rapidly decriminalizing the use of marijuana.

Source: santacruzsentinel.com, "UC Santa Cruz is No. 1 in drug-related student discipline", Jessica A. York, Feb. 9, 2015

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