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The Weekly Snapshot
Your source for the latest tips, information, and current campus safety resources from the NCCPS.
U.S. Department of Education Seeks Your Input on Protecting Student Medical Records

Yesterday, Tuesday, August 18, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office issued a draft Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) (PDF) reminding institutions of "their obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. ยง 1232g and the regulations in 34 C.F.R. Part 99, to protect students' education records from disclosure without consent, and to provide guidance more specifically on the disclosure of student medical records." The department is seeking comments from the public until October 2, 2015 regarding whether, among other things, the guidance in the draft DCL might have unintended consequences.
 
Kathleen M. Styles, Chief Privacy Officer for the U.S. Department of Education seeks to clarify the following key areas:
  • When a court order or written student consent should be required for medical record access (in cases of litigation between the institution and student);
  • History of FERPA and the definitions and differences between medical record, education record, and treatment record;
  • How HIPAA and FERPA intersect; and
  • Exceptions under FERPA where medical records may be disclosed without consent such as those related to disclosure to school officials with a legitimate educational interest, disclosure to a court without a court order or subpoena, and disclosure related to a health or safety emergency. 
Ms. Styles concludes by stating that the Department believes "students have a reasonable expectation that institutions will maintain the confidentiality of their conversations with healthcare professionals, and we commend the many institutions that have made thoughtful and sensitive decisions that respect the private nature of students' medical records."
 
We encourage you to contact us with any questions about this draft DCL.
High-Risk Drinking Prevention and Enforcement

The majority of college and university students admit to consuming alcohol. High-risk drinking is engaging in behaviors and patterns that lead to high levels of intoxication. This can lead to harmful consequences such as academic impairment, memory loss, and injury or death to self and others. Prevention and enforcement efforts are critical to the reduction of high-risk drinking.
 
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report,  Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings (PDF), provides detailed results from the survey and focuses on trends between 2012 and 2013 and from 2002 to 2013. Chapter three focuses on alcohol use and includes questions for both youth aged 12 and older, as well as college students specifically, about their consumption of alcoholic beverages. Chapter six focuses on prevention-related measures and includes questions to measure the risk and protective factors that may affect the likelihood that youth will engage in substance use, including alcohol and illicit drugs.
 
 Key findings from the survey include:
  • Young adults aged 18 to 22 who were enrolled full time in college were more likely than their peers who were not enrolled full time (i.e., part-time college students and persons not currently enrolled in college) to report current, binge, or heavy drinking. 
  • The pattern of higher rates of current alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and heavy alcohol use among full-time college students compared with rates for others aged 18 to 22 has remained consistent since 2002.
  • Among young adults aged 18 to 22, the rate of binge drinking declined somewhat since 2002. 
  • The age 21 minimum legal drinking age laws have reduced alcohol-related traffic fatalities by 13 percent and have saved an estimated 27,677 lives since 1975. 
You may download the full survey  here.
 
From 2003 - 2013, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supported the  Study to Prevent Alcohol-Related Consequences (SPARC), a randomized community trial involving ten universities in Southeast America. The SPARC sought to reduce high-risk drinking behaviors and alcohol-related consequences among college students by mobilizing a campus and community coalition. Using a community approach for planning and implementing environmental strategies, the SPARC focused on modifying social norms, policies, and enforcement practices. Those environmental strategies have been shown to lead to reductions in alcohol-related and high-risk drinking consequences. The SPARC found that the following factors can help colleges and their communities protect students from the harms of high-risk drinking:
  • Coordinated strategies that address alcohol availability
  • Alcohol policy enforcement  
  • Drinking norms 
The  Study to Prevent Alcohol-Related Consequences Using a Community Organizing Approach to Implement Environmental Strategies in and around the College Campus - An Intervention Manual (PDF) provides an overview of the SPARC model and step-by-step guidance on how to implement the interventions of the study. This manual can be implemented locally and is useful for college administrators, practitioners, and others who seek to reduce high-risk drinking behaviors.
 
To learn more about the SPARC study, please visit the  SPARC webpages.
Student Government Associations and Campus Safety

With the start of a new academic year approaching, student government associations (SGAs) are gearing up for another year's worth of student representation. SGAs perform a variety of important functions on campuses, one of which is organizing and managing student groups. In many cases, students and administrations are working together to enhance campus public safety.
 
Examples of student-organized groups that serve campus public safety needs can be found across the country. Two successful examples to consider are: The  Student Auxiliary Safety Patrol (SASP) at Ithaca College and the Student Committee for Safety and Security at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. The SASP was formed with "the purpose of providing auxiliary support to the College's Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management." The group of 40 students conducts nightly campus patrols, assists with special events, and performs other campus public safety tasks. SASP also has an escort program, which connects group members with any member of the campus community that wishes to be accompanied while walking on campus between the hours of 9pm and 3am.

The Student Committee for Safety and Security at UNC Chapel Hill holds fiscal responsibilities over the "Safety and Security Fee and acts as an advocate for better safety on campus." The group of students also produces student safety programming and partners with the department of public safety. "The committee's goal is to inform every student of his or her right to safety and the means available for preserving safety."
 
One way to support your campus' SGA is to connect them with other SGAs. The American Student Government Association (ASGA), which has 1,381 members in 50 states, is the major association that serves SGA "leaders and advisors nationwide with networking, research, and information resources and will teach them how to become more effective, ethical, and influential leaders on their campuses."
 
Connecting with other SGAs on best practices will allow SGA leadership to better organize around campus public safety issues. The ASGA holds conferences across the country that brings SGA leaders and SGA faculty advisors together.
Click image to access our online calendar of events.
Professional Development Opportunities

Title:  Police, Youth, and Community Relations: Improving Outcomes and Restoring Trust through Youth Voice
Host:  Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ)
Date: August 26, 2015 at 3:00pm Eastern
Location: Online
Fee: Free

Title: ASGA's National Student Government Summit 
Host: American Student Government Association (ASGA)  
Dates: October 1-4, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Fee: Registration Fee

Title: Preventing Underage Drinking Webinar Series
Host: Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD)
Date: Archived and available
Location: Online
This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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