A mass text sent out by Public Safety (PS) on March 3 warned Hofstra University students of possible tampered drinks at “local establishments.” PS omitted the specific local establishments from which the tampered drinks were reported.
The notification, sent at 7:58 p.m., came after PS received a report from an anonymous source claiming they had knowledge of tampered drinks.
The full safety alert read, “HU: Public Safety was advised individuals’ drinks were tampered with when visiting local establishments. Visit P.S. Safety tip webpage for more information.”
The text message was sent through Hofstra’s Campus Alert Notification Network (CANN), described by PS as “a comprehensive notification structure in place to alert the campus community in the event of an emergency.”
“When you’re a student at Hofstra, you log into your portal and you give us your information so we can send out messages of this sort,” said Colin Sullivan, the director of communications at Hofstra’s Division of Student Affairs.
Student responses to the mass text were mixed. While some were dissatisfied with its relative lack of information, the notification was also well received as an explanatory warning.
Frederick Durant, a freshman entrepreneurship major, said, “It would be awful if a young, ambitious college student was affected by an unethical and illegal choice made in a popular local establishment; thankfully Public Safety was able to warn the Hofstra student body.”
The notification suggested students visit PS’s safety tip website for additional details.
The website provides tips on a wide variety of situations. Under a heading titled, “Navigating the Social Scene: BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO A BAR OR CLUB READ THIS!,” the website says the following in regards to alcohol impairment: “When you drink alcoholic beverages, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of a crime because your communication skills and decision-making skills are impaired.”
In the same section, PS advises, “Know what you will do in case of emergency (i.e., a friend gets drunk, sick, or appears to have a drink spiked). You can call the Department of Public Safety for assistance and/or advice in any emergency situation. For immediate response in an off-campus emergency, dial 911.”
While PS provides students with immediate support in the case of emergencies, Hofstra’s Division of Student Affairs stresses the importance of emergency prevention.
The notification was sent in the interest of preventing further unsolicited student impairment.
Student Affairs holds programs year-round that emphasize alcohol impairment prevention for incoming freshman, as well as upperclassmen.
Online education about alcohol impairment prevention is provided at orientation for new students, while awareness week programming aims to reiterate the importance of preparation to upperclassmen.
Furthermore, the Division of Student Affairs provides student leaders, including Resident Assistants, with compact informational guidelines on avoiding alcohol impairment.
Claudia Andrade, the director of Student Advocacy and Prevention Awareness at Hofstra’s Division of Student Affairs, stressed the importance of community preparedness in the case of emergencies.
“Time is of the essence when it’s something that can risk our safety. What I do hope is that students and faculty and staff and everyone involved are asking themselves ‘How can I help in this situation if I come across it?’ because that’s really the only way they can keep all of our community safe,” Andrade said.
She continued, “If we’re just like, ‘I need the salacious details of what occurred’ that doesn’t help anybody really, and the opposite of that is ‘What is my plan if I see something? What is my plan if I feel a certain way? What is my plan if I hear of something like this happening? How do I really help a community member?’ because everything else is really somebody else’s personal business that we have to keep the integrity of.”