The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Welcome Week
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Vol. 8 No. 26 | August 22, 2012
College Colors Day - Aug 31

The Legal Consequences for Underage Drinking or Smoking Marijuana

by Melody Hicks, MC, LPC, Substance Abuse Coordinator

Incoming freshmen had the opportunity this summer to see the Lumberjack True Life presentation, in which scenarios were presented through skits to students about many issues they may face in college. More than one highlighted the use of alcohol and marijuana and many students vowed to parents after watching those skits that they would never drink or smoke marijuana.

Fast forward to the start of school and those scenarios now become real and the players are the students who vowed weeks or months before to never smoke or drink. However, the desire to meet new people, to belong, and to experiment is often too tempting to ignore.

Many parents and students know something about the emotional, physical, or psychological risks of using such substances but they often don't know the legal consequences they face if found drinking and/or in possession of marijuana or paraphernalia.

Getting caught drinking or smoking marijuana is often a surprise to students. If students are under the age of 21 and have had something to drink, they can receive a Minor in Consumption (MIC). This citation can be given to students who are walking home on campus after having something to drink at an off-campus party, and can also be given to students who have wisely arranged for a designated driver after drinking.

Citations are costly in terms of time and money, with many students being placed on Deferred Prosecution. This means a student will be on unsupervised probation for 3 months and required to complete an alcohol and drug assessment and educational class. The fine is $225; the cost for the assessment and class is extra. Although Deferred Prosecution, if completed successfully, means there is "no conviction" on a student's record, there is still information about the citation/charge on the students' public record which is readily accessible to anyone.

Possession and paraphernalia charges/citations carry even stiffer penalties. Students cited for either or both are often placed on Deferred Prosecution but the probation period is 6 months and the fine is $450. As with the MIC charge, students must complete an alcohol/drug assessment and educational class and not get additional citations during their probation period.

College is a time of exploration and many students will want to smoke or drink but they should know what consequences they face, legally, if caught. They have to decide if smoking marijuana or drinking is worth the risk.

President Haeger's Passport Initiative

The Center for International Education is pleased to support President Haeger's Passport Initiative. President Haeger's initiative recognizes the importance of all NAU students obtaining a passport in their path towards global citizenship. Global citizenship not only allows students to become better informed members of society, but to gain an important edge with employers in an increasingly globalized professional environment. In addition, obtaining a passport is a necessary step for NAU students to travel internationally and to study abroad.

In support of President Haeger's Passport Initiative, the Center for International Education will waive the passport processing fee of $25 during the weeks of September 10-21. Students will still need to pay the Department of State fee.

Students can obtain their passport at the Passport Application Acceptance Facility on campus.

Answer The Call!

by Heide Gibson, Parent Leadership Council

One way to be involved in your student’s education and academic success is to contribute during our parent calling campaign. The parent campaign has a direct impact on students, providing for scholarships, projects, and programs not fully covered by tuition or state funding. While gifts to the university can always be designated to any area of your choice, the parent campaign focuses on our three parent funds. These funds are made up of pooled gifts, collectively contributing to programs that make a difference to parents and students.

  • The NAU Parent Fund supports programs that enhance student life, such as student support services, the retention-oriented Parent and Family University and Family Weekend events provided at no cost for parents and families.
  • The Micro Grant Fund, as recommended by the university’s Parent Leadership Council, awards grants of up to $3,500 each to enhance curriculum and support other student-oriented initiatives. The application and approval process for these grants is quick, allowing for an almost immediate impact on learning experiences.
  • The Parent Scholarship Fund keeps education accessible and limits post-graduation debt for returning students.

Early in the semester, you may receive a call from a knowledgeable student, who will update you on these and other initiatives and ask for your support. Please take the time to talk with one of our students and consider making a gift.

Gifts to the Parents’ Fund or to specific areas within the University can also be made online or mailed to:

Northern Arizona University Advancement
PO Box 4094
Flagstaff, AZ 86011


Graduate Test Prep Courses Available

by Andrea Graves, DMA, Program Coordinator, Sr., Student Learning Centers

The Student Learning Centers now offer graduate test preparation courses specifically for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE revised General Test) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

These courses are designed to help students prepare for standardized graduate school admissions tests in an interactive classroom environment utilizing practical tools and resources. Students receive 28 hours of in-person instruction with targeted review of key content areas. The textbooks included in the fee are published by the test makers, Educational Testing Services and the Graduate Management Admission Council. The course pack provides extra tips and resources for study techniques and test taking strategies. Students will take 2 full-length practice tests and have access to instructor office hours either in person, by phone, or through Blackboard Collaborate online chat sessions.

Both the GRE Course and the GMAT Course are offered fall and spring semesters at the Learning Resource Center, building 61 on South Campus:


September 10 to October 3, 2012
Monday/Wednesday, 6-9:30 PM

February 2 to February 23, 2013
Saturday, 9 AM-5 PM


October 13 to November 3, 2012
Saturday, 9 AM-5 PM

January 29 to February 21, 2013
Tuesday/Thursday, 6-9:30 PM

These courses are open to the general public with a limit of 20 students per course. Fees are $500 for current students, faculty, staff, and employees, and $550 for non-NAU affiliation. Registration and program details are available online. For more information contact 928-523-7391 or

Parking and Bicycle Permits

If your son or daughter is planning to bring a vehicle to campus, remember to order parking permits through Parking and Shuttle Services online. Once an order is placed, you can print a two-week temporary pass while the official permit is delivered via USPS mail. Students can place permit charges on their LOUIE account.

Students on the mountain campus who don't purchase a parking permit will be charged a $30 transportation fee each semester to support the shuttle service.

Bicycle Permits

We strongly encourage your student to register his/her bicycle as this is essential in locating a bike if it is lost or stolen, or if he/she requests a lock to be cut. Students can register their bike at the Parking and Shuttle Services office at no cost; just bring the bike and your student's JacksCard. Registration services are also available at the Flagstaff Police Department for $1.

Bike Lockers And Enclosures

If your student wants to protect a bike from snow and rain, he/she can take advantage of our new bike lockers and enclosures. Lockers and enclosures will be rented on a first-come, first-served basis. Lockers are located south of McConnell Hall, south of University Union, and southwest of Gateway. A bike locker may be rented for $30 for one semester or $75 for the year. Bike enclosures are located in Knoles Garage, Mountain View Garage, and the new San Francisco Garage. A space in an enclosure may be rented for $15 for one semester or $40 for the year.

NAIPTA City Bus Service Changes

Beginning on August 27, NAIPTA will be expanding hours on routes servicing the university.

Mountain Line Route 4 (Gold Route) will soon feature all-day peak service with buses running every 20 minutes from 6:40 AM to 6:43 PM. This doubles the amount of time that peak service (20-minute frequency) is offered on Route 4, giving passengers on one of NAIPTA's busiest routes more frequent service. Route 4 runs in a one-way loop, connecting downtown to the Milton Corridor, Woodlands Village shopping area, Lake Mary Road, Coconino Community College, NAU and Aspen Place at the Sawmill. After 6:43 PM, Route 4 features 30-minute service.

In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of Mountain Link (Route 10) service, which connects the NAU campus to downtown Flagstaff and Woodlands Village, NAIPTA will offer extended weekday service hours. Students, locals and visitors have all embraced this popular route, and in response to high demand, Mountain Link will run nearly two hours later with the last bus starting its final route at 10:10 PM on Monday-Friday. Extended Mountain Link hours give NAU students with late classes a safe and reliable transportation option when they live off campus.

Event Highlights

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at Flagstaff 365 and Flagstaff Happenings.