The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse ranked first in the nation for 2012 alcohol arrests, according to report released this week.

It’s a list Joe Gow doesn’t want to see his university top, the UW-L Chancellor said Thursday, responding to the report from Rehabs.com. But the ranking also sends a message to students about the campus’ approach to alcohol abuse on campus, Gow said.

“If you’re going to come here and break the law, we are going to arrest you,” Gow said. “I think that’s a positive message.”

Rehabs.com, a resource for addicts, compiled 2012 data from the U.S. Office of Postsecondary Education for the report. Universities and colleges that receive Title IV funding submit arrest records to the federal government.

The report ranks schools based on on-campus alcohol arrests per 1,000 students. UW-L ranked 10th in 2011, but replaced UW-Oshkosh at first place the following year. Nine UW institutions made the top-50 rankings in 2012.

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UW-Oshkosh fell to ninth place, followed by UW-Stout (18th), UW-Stevens Point (22nd), UW-Madison, UW-Eau Claire (31st), UW-River Falls, UW-Milwaukee (45th) and UW-Green Bay (46th).

Data gathered for the Rehabs.com report doesn’t differentiate between arrests of students and arrests of non-students. La Crosse’s annual Oktoberfest celebration might have played a role in vaunting UW-L up the rankings, Gow said.

“I really don’t think the alcohol situation here at UW-L is any worse or any better than it is at the other places I’ve been,” Gow said. “We are doing all we can to address this very complex problem. And it’s a societal problem.”

“I really don’t think the alcohol situation here at UW-L is any worse or any better than it is at the other places I’ve been.” Joe Gow,
UW-L Chancellor

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(18) comments


The results are for campuses over 5,000 and that report their numbers, which private schools do not typically need to because they are not state funded. I agree that UW-L has a drinking problem as this report shows on campus arrests and has nothing to do with the La Crosse PD. There is also a huge drinking problem in the state and La Crosse area. The following report shows that our college students drink about the same amount as our county. Having a festival where you tap a keg at 10 am doesn't help our image or our culture. http://www.lacrosseconsortium.org/uploads/content_files/Burden_of_Alcohol_Report_2012.pdf


Being a local UW-LACROSSE student in La Crosse with and 18 yr old drinking age going also where students and Frat kids starting drinking on Thursday night and would skip class on Friday during the 70's. They were cheating their parents and hung over on Monday. Attendance is important to future employers and WWTC they took attendace, employers hire those who will be there. Both schools use the same books. The price of an education has no bearing on the quality of education, it is the student.I remember the Cellar opening up in the morning for picture specials.


It would be nice if we could blame our little cash cow, out-of-town visitors for this problem. But we cannot. The greedy Tavern league - you know, the bar owners that we subsidize by providing bouncers in the form of police to keep order in their establishments, refuse to behave responsibly.

They and the city by default encourage drinking. Think about it, how many liquor licenses have been pulled for bad behavior? None.


Actually, there is plenty of blame to go around.
We can blame out-of-towners of all ages during Oktoberfest. We can also blame the festival itself. We can blame the tavern owners for the extremely cheap beer prices and the late night drink specials that promote binge drinking. We can blame the alcohol distributors who provide the beer at such low prices. We can blame the city for continuing to give out liquor licenses like they are candy.
But mostly, we can blame the culture of this state and this area....which means we can blame US.


Nope. Nothing to see here. No problem at all. Not worse than anywhere else.
Wayta go Joe! Sheesh....get your friggin' head out of the sand!


Not Surprising, sad but true. Better to have your kids live at home and drive to a closer college if you have that option.


We are #1.

Other Views

If you read the report, they did some weird number crunching. UWL did not rank #1 on either of the two lists that were combined to come up with this #1 in the county business. A good example of how to use statistics to prove a point that doesn't exist.


I agree. When I first read that the rate of workplace sexual harassment had gone up, I also saw that the definition had expanded. One has to look a little deeper than a sensational headline. Many rapes weren't reported years ago, but when we made it easier for victims to come forward, the rape count went up. Better enforcemet of crime may result in a higher crime count. Use your noggins, and quit calling each other names.


Have another one Joe.


Because our police force spends more time breaking up house parties and handing out drinking tickets than going after the heroin and meth dealers.


Do you think it's because alcohol abuse is much more common than heroin and meth abuse?

Nah.....that can't be it.


It's a party town, just look at a how many bars are downtown. City leaders are just as responsible for the problem as anyone else. They keep letting bar after bar open up knowing it's geared for the kids going to UWL


Also #1 in drunks walking or driving into the river.

President Walker

And Gow has his head in the sand. Alcohol abuse and a communist/progressive education. Who in their right mind spends their life savings to send their children to this mess known as UWL?


Right on President. Now it's time to return to your padded cell.

President Walker

I think you mean the Governor's mansion. Or the Whitehouse. Angry insignificant loser. :-)

logical thinker

Nope! Pretty sure PhysicsIsFun meant padded cell since those were the words used. :-) I won't be back so don't bother. I am a working man. :-)

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