Dry Or Wet? — Should We Allow Alcohol On Campus?

One of the hardest decisions we will have to make is deciding what to do about alcohol consumption.

One’s initial libertarian inclination would be to follow the crowd and only opine on the undesirability of violent drunkenness, trusting our future student bodies to do the right thing. But we are also realists and recognize that college age students have an undeniable historically bad track record when it comes to making bad choices about liquor.

Some are perhaps genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism, others use drinking as a excuse to absolve themselves of responsibility for the consequences of bad decisions. In Greek Culture, drinking is all too often ingrained in rituals of individual submission to peer pressure. One drinks to prove one’s worth through the rite of getting loaded and enduring an awful hangover in the morning. In the most egregious cases students have lost their lives to actual alcohol poisoning.

It would be nice to imagine that our students will only imbibe of a sip of Sherry after a poetry reading, but the reality on most campuses is an unhealthy level of binge drinking both in the dorms and off campus bars that encourage predatory sexual dynamics by offering “Ladies Nights” to lure coeds into a hookup culture where young men ply them with drink, impairing their judgment, and trading sexual favors for free booze and the momentary emotional high of feeling desired by alpha males.

Worse still, we all know what happens afterwards, risky sex, unclear consent, spewing vomit, and the “walk of shame” home the morning after. The consequences for our young men and women are equally bad, as born out by date rape statistics in countless cases both with and without merit, in a culture that devalues women on campus, short circuits the formation of healthy dating relationships, and puts both sexes at high risk of making disastrous life altering choices.

The drinking culture also puts the non-drinker at a social networking disadvantage which can have future impacts on lifelong earnings. This suggests that it wouldn’t be sufficient to ban alcohol on campus, particularly if we contemplate a setting in which a string of bars could set up shop just outside the campus gate.

Only by providing a more desirable programmed nightlife with frequent events, better networking and dating opportunities, a superior ambiance, and high quality non-alcoholic beverages of superior flavor and lower cost than the swill of your average off campus strip can we make a dry lifestyle the preferred choice for our academic communities. In short, we want to create an environment in which getting plastered won’t be cool and in which the traditional sleazy off-campus bar scene catering to lecherous drunkards won’t be economically viable.

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