Duke It Out: Should Colleges Curb Drinking?

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman (unless she happens to be charging at us with her fists raised), so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like free birth control! ) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

From Stanford to Florida State there are certain traditions that hold true in college across the country – homecoming, welcome week craziness, wearing flip flops in the shower, and getting up close and personal with your toilet after way too many shots on Friday night. College drinking has been a hot button issue for a long time, and there’s always been the question of who should step up and be responsible for it. Some recent reports have said that schools aren’t doing enough to curb excessive drinking – but should it be up to the schools?

On one side, colleges do have a responsibility toward their students’ health and that should at least include doing their best to distribute information and make policies that help keep students from chugging down the booze until it’s stomach-pump time. Also since many colleges are a major epicenter for the towns they’re in, often the school’s policies spill over into the surrounding communities, which in turn helps to curb the bingeing overall. And whether it’s fair or not, colleges are the only ones who really have jurisdiction in these kind of situations since it’s not a legal issue, so it has to be up to the schools to try and keep students (at least reasonably, sorta) sober.

But doesn’t the fact that it’s not a legal issue say something? As long as the students doing the power hours are of age, they are legally entitled to make their own decisions, even if those decisions might totally suck in the morning….or afternoon. There are also some pretty serious questions of how much schools can really do. Sure they can make policies about what students are allowed to do on school property, but they can’t control what happens off campus, and for colleges in bigger cities, they really can’t affect the way their community at large deals with alcohol. There’s also the really basic fact that a lot of schools depend on the social aspect of college life to attract students – that’s why every college list ever has a “party schools” section. If students choose to drink, it’s their business, and should we really expect colleges to jump in and try and force decisions on people who are supposed to be adults?

What do you think? Are schools falling down on the job of keeping their students safe? Or should they accept that drinking is just one of the time honored college traditions? What can really be done to keep drinking under control? And who should be in charge of it? Duke it out!

Candy Dish: Congrats to Judge Kagan!
Candy Dish: Congrats to Judge Kagan!
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