Mustang News File Photo

According to University Police Chief George Hughes, the University Police Department responded to 23 alcohol transports this past quarter.

Brooke Sperbeck

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Dean of Students Jean DeCosta told greek life leaders in a January email she is “concerned” about the increase in alcohol-related transports to the hospital this year.

“In this case, we are very concerned about the high number of alcohol-related transports we have already had this year,” DeCosta wrote in the email, which was obtained by Mustang News through a public records request. “The numbers are in excess of the total number we had last year.”

University Police Chief George Hughes said the University Police Department (UPD) responded to 23 alcohol transports this past quarter, higher than previous academic years.

“However, it’s our opinion that it is not because there’s more drinking on campus,” Hughes said.  “It’s just there’s more education, more outreach, more information out there on how to be safe and what to do.”

Ryan Vilfer, Cal Poly’s Friday Night Live advisor, said Friday Night Live educates students on the signs of alcohol poisoning and encourages them to get medical help.

“Our big thing is educating students that if you see even one of those signs, get that person help immediately because you don’t want to risk it, and you don’t want to lose another Mustang,” Vilfer said.

Vilfer said he would rather see more people getting taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning than the alternative: not receiving treatment and possibly dying.

“I see it as students are getting the message from Friday Night Live, from Aware Awake Alive, from new student programs, from everyone on campus, and then really taking that message to heart and watching out for one another,” Vilfer said.

Another group that has encouraged students to get medical help for alcohol poisoning is Aware Awake Alive, founded by Julia and Scott Starkey in honor of their son Carson, a Cal Poly freshman who died from alcohol poisoning at a fraternity event in 2008.

The organization, which has expanded to all 23 California State University campuses, uses the slogan: “Drunk or dying? You make the call.”

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, a board member for Aware Awake Alive, said in November that lives have been saved on campus because of Aware Awake Alive.

“It really is about watching out for one another,” Armstrong said. “Someone makes a mistake; let’s get them to the hospital. Let’s not let them suffer from that mistake.”

When asked about DeCosta’s email, Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier said DeCosta was trying to make the point to greek leaders that party registration is about increasing student safety with regard to partying.

“She points to the increase in alcohol transports as a possible area of concern to administration regarding student safety, but she is not saying that the greeks are on probation because of increased alcohol transports,” Lazier said.

Clarification: A previous version of this article stated Ryan Vilfer of Friday Night Live said he would rather see more people being taken to the hospital because it “would mean students are looking out for one another.” It has since been changed to more accurately reflect what Vilfer told Mustang News: “I’d rather see more people get taken to the hospital than not being treated for it, or possibly, the worst case scenario, is dying from it.”

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