University of Iowa President Sally Mason is worried about the student whose Twitter account and blood alcohol level gained national attention last week, and about the impression the country has of her school.
"That's not who we are,” Mason told the Des Moines Register.
Samantha Goudie, a 22-year-old student, was arrested on Aug. 31 at the first football game of the school year. Her subsequent tweets from the handle @Vodka_Samm boasting of her .341 BAC quickly garnered national attention.
"It's sad that one student and one student's behavior shapes the image of 30,000 other students," Mason said. "I feel very, very concerned about the young student that had that level of alcohol in her blood. I'm very concerned for her health, safety and well-being."
But it was clear Mason isn't happy about having Iowa portrayed as a party school either.
"The vast majority of our students have expressed concerns to me about the reputational damage that one student can do to all of them," Mason said.
Iowa was already on the defense about the party school title before Goudie's arrest, as soon as the Princeton Review released their 2013-14 rankings. Several schools named the top party school in recent years attempted to rebuke the Princeton Review ranking, in both rhetoric and by cracking down on student partying. Officials at universities away from the top slot, coming in 8th or 13th place, objected to being included on the list.
Shortly after the Aug. 5 release of the latest Princeton Review party school list, Mason noted the university's efforts to curb binge drinking at the Iowa Board of Regents meeting, saying it's an "issue of health and safety among our students."
University spokesman Tom Moore said the administration wants to "change the culture on our campus by educating students to only consume alcohol in a legal, safe and responsible manner." Moore said they were achieving results, though the attention to "Vodka Samm" sends a different message.
"Although we have made progress over the past several years in reducing problem drinking on campus," Mason told KGAN last week, "we still have work to do in order to reach our goals."
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