Nine College Freshmen Dead from Alcohol-Related Incidents in First Weeks of School Year

A recent report from Inside Higher Ed found that nine college freshmen across the US have already died in alcohol-related incidents in the first few weeks of a new school year.

Recently, as Raw Story reports, freshman Tucker Brantly Arnold attending Texas Tech University died after crashing his pickup truck on August 19. He was driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .267, three times over the legal limit of .08. Five other Texas Tech students died in that fatal crash.

At the same university, freshman Dalton Debrick died while rushing the Alpha Sigma Pi fraternity. According to the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office, the official cause of death was alcohol intoxication.

Alcohol was also a likely contributing factor for other recent deaths of college freshmen across the nation, including Austin Vonckx of Florida Gulf Coast University, Jiayi Dai of Michigan State University, Julia Margaret Ratnaraj of Townson University, and Michael Gatto of Georgia Southern University.

Dean of students at Texas Tech Amy Murphy blamed these deaths on what she termed “the college effect… the idea that once students are on campus, they’re exposed to these higher-risk behaviors and are then more likely to participate in them.”

Similarly, Pete Goldsmith, the dean of students at Indiana University at Bloomington, said that “it’s a huge transition and all the support systems are different. For students who have lived in very structured situations and environments, going to a college campus when very suddenly they have this new kind of freedom and new choices to make, it can be pretty overwhelming.”