Students who choose to party are more vulnerable to alcohol and substance abuse.
Here at Haskell Indian Nations University many of us come from cities, reservations, and rural
areas all with the purpose of continuing our education. Some students are straight out of high
school, others decide to return to earn a college degree. Haskell is abundant with new faces each
semester. Students get a fresh start and opportunity to gain new knowledge and connections
while their time here.
Haskell Alumna, Kimberly Delk, said “If you’re going to abuse substances be smart about it,
don’t think you need to be cool to impress anyone because at the end of the day it’s going to be
you who walks across the stage”. Although substance abuse is a contributor to Haskell’s dropout
rate Delk feels that students have situations going on at home, making it difficult to adapt to a
new environment on campus. “Stay focused on your main goal which is to graduate, it is of
upmost importance to finish what you started” Delk said.
Student rights specialist, Danelle McKinney said “Dorm parties, which we don’t allow, almost
always include alcohol and/or other substances. It is our responsibility as Haskell University staff
members to enforce student conduct for the health and safety of the campus.” According to
McKinney “Haskell University has seen an increase in alcohol/illegal substance abuse for both
Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters”. Date rape has also become a concern for McKinney.
“Some of our students leave campus to find another place to party, unfortunately we’ve had
some incidents where students return victims of date rape”. What McKinney suggests for
students to take a look at the amnesty clause found in the code of conduct book, section four. She
also points out that this clause is designed to help students seek resources for assistance. “The
code of conduct was not put together to be seen as punitive by nature” concludes McKinney.
Vice President of Haskell University services, Tonia Salvini, said “Students who choose to abuse
substances could be putting their lives at risk, some of these drugs could be laced with toxic
chemicals such as fentanyl unbeknownst”. Salvini said “Chicago, Illinois has just undergone
scrutiny from officials due to an increase of laced drugs from traffickers, since Illinois is not too
far from Kansas I am worried about it reaching our campus”.
Former Haskell student, Vinnie Hiratsuka, shared his personal experiences dealing with
substance abuse. “Quitting drinking wasn’t easy, I was 24 years old when my alcoholism had
completely become full blown. My violent drunk behavior resulted in me being asked to leave a
trade school that I was attending at the time, as I was told not to return”. Hiratsuka feels that as
Native Americans it is our responsibility to change the stereotypes that people hold against us,
concerning substance abuse. “The stigma attached to Natives and alcohol is a dark one but not
always accurate, especially from people who are on the outside looking in. Outsiders have no
idea about this illness or Native culture and make assumptions based off ignorance. I haven’t
touched alcohol since the day I’ve decided to quit, 14 years ago. If I can do it, anyone can”.
It is not only smart but it is a good idea to have a plan when going out with your friends
for the night. Some helpful tips to keep in mind would be to utilize the buddy system.
Bring someone who you can trust and always be aware of your surroundings. If you do decide to
separate from each other get as much contact information about the person that your friend left with, such
as their name, license plate number, and phone number. Following these simple tips can help students
have a simpler college experience while living in Lawrence.