The independent news organization of Duke University

What if there was less alcohol?

Last semester my friend from Bob Jones University visited me. My worst suspicions were confirmed when he remarked, “Dude, all the girls at my school think premarital sex sends you straight to hell, but our usual post-Friday-night-Bible-School-Mixer seems like a party at the Playboy mansion compared to this place.”

After I stopped the crying about not going to University of Arizona, I asked him what we could do to improve life here. He broke it down in two words: “Forbidden fruit.”

“It was easy for me, bro. I slept through Sunday School two weeks in a row and I was the bad boy. The entire choir was giving me come-hither looks and calling me, begging me to give them something to repent for on Sunday.”

Obviously, I was too drunk and stubborn to understand the full import of his words, but a couple of weeks later—I was drunkenly begging a police officer to arrest me just to break up the monotony—it hit me. In order to save the social scene, the University must ban alcohol on campus. I am not talking about citations; those are just annoying. I am not advocating that RAs check IDs; I think everyone has a fake anyway. I am talking about an all-out ban on East, West, Central and all other Duke property. I want an alcohol policy that is don’t-sip-a-beer-and-walkby-the-hospital-or-you-will-be-written-up strict.

Not only that, but it must make it extremely difficult for anyone who lives on campus to drink off campus. I am talking about searching bags, breathalyzing people when they come home after 8 p.m., RAs beating on every locked door and all but declaring martial law.

MIPs? Please. I want the SWAT team to break into off-campus parties. I want drinking to be so taboo that most undergrads could more easily find cocaine than a wine cooler.

I want this, because I want to reinvigorate the spirit of debauchery that sustained me during my freshman year. Everyone talks about how they drank more their freshman year than any other year (besides study abroad, that is, believe the hype), but no one mentions how we did it. Sure, we spent a month or two rushing and camping outside of Cameron, but mostly we did it the good old-fashioned way—drinking hard alcohol in a room with the door locked. Sometimes we didn’t even bother with drinking to go out; simply getting as drunk as possible was the only aspiration or goal for the night.

I can’t help but wonder if Duke didn’t know it, if Larry Moneta doesn’t think that the best way to make all the freshmen social is forcing them to be cooped up together in little rooms whining about the alcohol policy while celebrating its ineffectiveness.

Could it be that the University is playing a little reverse-psychology mind game with us? Maybe they want us to drink a lot for one year, make some friends and some mistakes and, provided we all survive, maybe we learned our lesson.

Truth be told, I drank so much on East that I nearly burned out on booze all together in my sophomore year. As soon as I left East, I largely quit drinking hard alcohol and switched to beer, and let me tell you, the honeymoon was over. A nice Draconian ban on alcohol should put the spice back in my alcohol abuse. Why, I predict that within a month of an all out ban on alcohol on campus, there will be Dionysian festivals in the Duke Forest.

It is all but fact that a prohibition actually encourages consumption. The only problem with the University’s current policy is that it is mostly designed to limit their liability and not to actually make it hard to drink. When ALE (is that some kind of pun?) hands out two hundred citations the first night and then two the next week, it is clear that the University doesn’t have the heart to foster the kind of atmosphere I am dreaming about.

I wish I had the answer to how to force the University’s hand, but short of tragedy, I imagine that the current state of limbo between anarchic partying and mercilessly inspiring abuse with continue. In the meantime, freshmen, enjoy not being allowed to drink. This is the one time you will always have an excuse to crack a few open.

Joe Cox is Trinity senior. His column runs ever other Friday.

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