By Daniel K. Rosenheck Harvard Crimson

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Forty-six percent of Harvard University students “binge drink” – one point higher than the national average – but the frequency of that drinking is much lower than on college campuses nationwide, a recent survey conducted by The Crimson found.

Students at Harvard also rarely suffer academic or personal consequences resulting from drinking, such as falling behind in school or engaging in unplanned sexual activity.

Analysts cite Harvard’s location and its students’ workaholic tendencies as possible reasons for the campus’s less frequent bingeing.

The Crimson’s survey mirrored the College Alcohol Study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, which defines binge drinking as five or more drinks in a night for a man and four for a woman. The study’s director, HSPH Lecturer Henry Wechsler, attributes Harvard’s lower drinking levels to students’ prioritization of academics over alcohol.

“Binge drinkers at Harvard are less committed to binge drinking [than at other schools],” Wechsler says.

While they may binge less often, Harvard students match the national breakdown of college drinkers almost exactly.

The survey found that almost half of all Harvard students binge drink, a third drink moderately and a fifth do not drink at all – proportions which reflect national statistics for 18- to 23-year-old college dorm residents, according to 1999 data compiled by the CAS.

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis says it does not come as a surprise that Harvard students fall into many of the same categories as their national counterparts.

“I doubt that the Harvard population is very different from colleges or the American populace generally,” Lewis wrote in an e-mail message. “I don’t think the forces acting on Harvard students are awfully unique, compared to other colleges.”

Only a quarter of Harvard’s binge drinkers meet Wechsler’s threshold for “frequent” bingeing, which he places at more than twice in a two-week period.

And though nearly half of all students said they had a drink during the first week of reading period, less than a third of them usually binge when they drink, while more than half of American college students do.

Government Survey Shows College Women at High Risk for Rape

By Dave D’Onofrio The Daily Free Press

BOSTON – Almost three percent of college-age women will experience a completed or attempted rape this academic year, according to a recent report funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Conducted by the National College Women Sexual Victimization, the survey found that of the 4,446 women surveyed in 1996, 1.7 percent had experienced a completed rape within that year, and another 1.1 percent had been victimized by an attempted rapist.

For the purposes of the study, attempted rape was defined as, “Unwanted attempted penetration by force or the threat of force.”

Of those surveyed, 123 reported being multiple-rape victims, indicating that on a campus of 10,000 women there would be 350 attempted rapes per academic year, according to the survey.

If the national numbers were reflected at Boston University, where 9,497 female undergraduates are currently enrolled, 335 rape incidents could be expected this academic year.

“College campuses host large concentrations of young women who are at greater risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women in the general population or in a comparable age group,” the survey reads. “Based on their findings, [researcher] Bonnie Fisher and her colleagues estimate that the women at a college that has 10,000 female students could experience more than 350 rapes a year – a finding with serious policy implications for college administrators.”

The survey found almost 60 percent of on-campus completed rapes occurred in the victim’s residence. Approximately 30 percent occurred in other living quarters on campus, and about 10 percent took place in fraternity houses. The survey also noted bars, night clubs and work settings as off-campus locations where attempted rapes occurred.

Women are most at risk after 6 p.m., the study found. More than 50 percent of completed rapes took place after midnight, while almost 37 percent occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight. Only about 12 percent took place between the daytime hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The study also found that rape victims are most often attacked by known assailants. About 90 percent of women reported knowing the person who assaulted them, usually a boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, classmate, friend, acquaintance or coworker, according to the study.

Nearly 23 percent of threatened rapes occurred on dates, including almost 13 percent of completed rapes and 35 percent of attempted rapes.

One potential reason for the seemingly alarming numbers detailed in the study is that fewer than five percent of the alleged incidents were reported. Nearly half of the rape victims said they did not want other people to find out about the incident, including family. Nearly a third of attempted rape victims cited similar reasoning.

According to the NCWSV, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded $8.1 million to 21 colleges and universities in an attempt to reduce sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking on campuses in 1999. In 2000, $6.8 million was given to 20 additional schools.

Student Union Vice President of Safety Services Patrick Donovan said the studies findings were in line with statistics he has seen before. One in eight women will face a situation of rape or attempted rape at least once in their four years of college, he said.

Donovan, who will present his plans for the remainder of the semester to the Student Union Senate Monday night, said the Union approaches rape intervention in two ways: education and treatment.

Study Says Light Cigarettes Offer No Health Benefits

By Nick Hiltunen The Miami Student

OXFORD, Ohio – Light cigarettes may not be as light as smokers think, according to a new study published in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute.

The study found that smokers of light brands of cigarettes may be inhaling as much as eight times the amount of tar and nicotine listed on the package.

That means that cigarettes with labels that say users are getting 0.1 milligrams of nicotine may be inhaling as much as 1 mg, and smokers of “regular” cigarettes may be inhaling as much as 1.4 mg, as opposed to the 1 mg printed on the pack.

The reason for the difference, according to the study, is the way the testing process is performed.

When levels of tar and nicotine are analyzed for listing on the packet, “smoking machines,” are used. These machines don’t compensate for how smokers may handle a cigarette.

To get a higher level of nicotine and tar from the cigarette, smokers may inhale harder, take bigger puffs, or cover up special holes in the cigarette’s filter meant to dilute the tar and nicotine with higher levels of air.

The study said that smokers may or may not be aware that they are doing this.

To compensate for the different ways people use cigarettes, the study tested levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine inhalation in the human body.

Testing the level of cotinine showed that the amount of nicotine and tar inhaled by smokers of all types of cigarettes varied widely.

Adrienne Larimer, a smoker of a mild brand of cigarettes, said she was surprised by the study’s findings.

“I smoke (light cigarettes) because I’m under the false assumption that they’re not as bad as the regular ones, but I know they’re killing me anyway,” she said. “That’s kind of irritating, but I can’t be (that angry) because I’m the one who’s smoking them.”

Larimer said that cigarette labeling should include a warning about the varying levels of nicotine and tar that users may take in.

“The label should say ‘from this amount of (tar and nicotine) to whatever,” she said.

Amanda Gallagher, a Cincinnati resident and University of ontana student, said she smokes light cigarettes because they don’t feel as heavy in her throat, not because of the nicotine level. However, she feels that the labeling should be more accurate.

“That’s definitely misleading,” Gallagher said. “A lot of people buy lights thinking that they’re better for you.”

The study said that Gallagher is right about light cigarette smokers. Smokers of milder brands of cigarettes tend to be older, female and better-educated, according to the study.

D.C. Student Found Dead

By Andrew Noyes The Eagle

WASHINGTON – Foul play may have been a factor in the death of a Gallaudet University freshman, Metropolitan Police Department officials reported this weekend as their investigation into the killing continues.

The victim, identified as 19-year-old Benjamin Varner, originally from San Antonio, Texas, was found early Saturday morning in a fourth floor residence hall room on the Northeast D.C. campus, university officials reported.

Police were involved almost immediately and are conducting an active investigation with the assistance of the FBI, they said. The school of 2,000 cancelled weekend events citing the tragedy’s stunning effect on the campus community.

“All of us are shocked that once again we are faced with such an incredible tragedy,” President I. King Jordan said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

AU Public Safety was made aware of Varner’s death but could not disclose specifics regarding the case. Officials also declined to comment on whether or not security has been beefed up on AU’s campus in response to the killing.

This was the second slaying in five months at the nation’s only liberal arts school for deaf and hearing-impaired students.

The first death occurred Sept. 28 when freshman Eric Plunkett was found dead in a room in the same building.

A fellow student was arrested and charged in Plunkett’s murder in October but prosecutors dropped the charges the next day.

Police say there is no evidence linking the two killings.

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