When I think of everything that has made me happy in the last three and a half years, several things stand out in my mind. Family Guy on DVD. Reading Catch-22 for the fourth time. The “Bushisms” poster I bought in London that was a constant reminder that Americans were (and still are) represented abroad by someone who cannot speak English and is therefore fluent in exactly zero languages. But the best thing, hands down, has been the fantastic and gradual manner in which underage drinking has been removed from this campus.
A decade-old Chronicle on display in front of the circulation desk in Perkins Library announces the University’s decision to eliminate those awful Thursday night kegs. According to the article, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night kegs had been eliminated in the years prior to 1994. Sounds like a trend. Some students voiced their concern that the decision by the administration would unnecessarily interfere with their social lives. Nonsense! You don’t need drinking to have a good time! You just need optimism and butterflies and exclamation points!
Can you imagine how detrimental it would be to our lives if we were to have Thursday night kegs on the quad? Or Friday, Saturday or Sunday night kegs, which have since disappeared? Luckily, we no longer have any sort of weekly alcohol distribution to undergraduates. There was free beer at prom (or the inauguration dance or whatever it was), but that was a one-time thing, and it was only for alumni, administrators (I saw you in line for refills a few times, Mr. President) and those who could get a wristband. Minors, of course, were prevented from celebrating. And the senior picnic had beer too, but thankfully that ran out before everyone could get a second glass, at about the same time that the 25 or 30 free T-shirts were taken by the first 10 people who cut in line.
Weekend nights on the Main Quad are so much more conducive to studying now than they must have been in years past. A calm silence has replaced all the partying and fraternizing and general widespread campus debauchery that corrupted the students of a decade ago. This has even gotten better since my freshman year, when there were fraternities that threw parties on campus that didn’t get broken up by midnight. Hell, there were fraternities back then. I’m glad they’re gone.
The situation we have now is ever so much better. Instead of making students drink on campus and forcing them to walk back to their dorms in relative safety, the administration has given any renegade who wants to drink the opportunity to leave campus and choose their own adventure to get back. The number of alcohol-related incidents on campus has decreased and our underage undergraduates have developed a better sense of community with the city of Durham.
But I don’t think the University is going far enough. Forcing the social scene off campus is a cure for the symptom, not the disease. To really get to the bottom of problem, to find the solution, Duke needs to ban drinking altogether. Get rid of beer on food points (it’s killing me anyway). Do not allow social gatherings of any kind that might lead to alcohol consumption. Burn all Beirut tables. Get some pickle activists to start a new prohibition movement. Turn the campus trend into a national trend. Set an example for the rest of the world.
Because, Duke, it is up to us to prevent the spread of alcohol on and off campus. Forget about preventing crime or sexual assault or eating disorders. Alcohol is a toxin to anyone and everyone and leads to terrible and unnatural behaviors, like a mother beating her son at beer pong in Kryzewskiville and trash talking for hours afterward. We must stop this awful, awful drug from infecting our nation’s youth. I don’t care that you can vote and die for your country at 18. It doesn’t matter that the people who raised the drinking age to 21 could drink at 18 and probably forgot that when they were in college they needed to have a few brews now and again to dull the pain of a badly written paper or a failed test.
All right, I’ve had enough of this. Who’s thirsty?
Eric Vivier is a Trinity senior.
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