Safer Colleges and Universities: A UC-System Evaluation
Principal Investigator: Robert F. Saltz, Ph.D.
In the proposed study we plan to evaluate the impact of a comprehensive, community-based university intervention. The project would involve fourteen campuses from both the University of California and the California State University Systems in an effort to understand how educational and risk-management strategies may work alone and in combination in the context of a campus-wide prevention effort. The specific steps of the project would be: 1. Establish an advisory panel comprising campus administrators, prevention researchers, and federal offices to both guide the research team and establish parameters for the interventions; 2. Conduct data collection to establish the baseline for student drinking and drinking problems, and to gather data directly informative to policies that will be set in the program phase; 3. Implement programs involving two primary strategies in an experimental design. One intervention will target students' misperception of drinking among their peers (which they universally overestimate). The second intervention will be a comprehensive "environmental risk management" approach that focuses on clear and consistent policies addressing availability and promotion of alcohol, control of group drinking in both private and commercial settings, and increased effectiveness in monitoring and enforcement of those policies; 4. Conduct a process evaluation with the goal of recording the actions taken by each campus, the policies and procedures adopted by it, and how those policies are translated to action (or lack thereof) at the front lines-places where alcohol is being consumed; 5. Finally, evaluate the program's impact on the frequency of intoxication, binge drinking, and prevalence of negative consequences as compared to the baseline and across the comparison campuses within the experimental design. In addition to these primary objectives, the proposed study will be able to explore the possible source of frequently-observed but poorly-understood gender and ethnic differences in drinking and drinking problems. California's campuses provide perhaps the richest diversity of students available for such an investigation.