Staff Editorial

We at The Lawrentian have some criticisms of the current Lawrence alcohol policy. We are not arguing the illegality of underage drinking and do not take issue with the need to abide by state law; however, the current policy of not allowing alcohol in common spaces has some negative effects, effects which the writers of these policies may or may not be aware.
The current alcohol policy, as mentioned, allows no open alcoholic drinks in common spaces. This may seem like an obvious and good idea, with respect to liability issues; however, it actually forces drinking into students’ dorm rooms. This is a particular problem at frat and small house parties, because it doesn’t allow for people to drink in spaces where the party is actually taking place and therefore encourages “pre-partying.”
Students who “pre-party” typically drink a lot in a short amount of time before going to the party, which of course can be very dangerous. Most students go into the pre-party mode planning to drink enough to stay drunk for hours, thus drinking several drinks in a short period of time. There are serious health risks to the pre-party: The liver only processes one drink per hour, and blood alcohol levels become dangerous after only four drinks for women and five for men.
Pushing crowds of students into individual rooms can often lead to a bunch of inexperienced drinkers drinking together. If you are going to drink, the best way to do it is responsibly, a habit that is hard to learn, or learn to respect, amongst other inexperienced, irresponsible peers.
The current policy does not offer much education about responsible drinking. Instead of prohibiting consumption, the administration should educate students so that they will be aware of the health consequences, not to mention the legal consequences.
Clearly, there are perceived liability issues at the heart of the current alcohol policy. However we at The Lawrentian feel that the administration is protecting their own liability too much with regard to alcohol consumption in public places. It should not be the university’s fault if an underage student drinks in a public place, or if a student drinks too much.
If the administration is truly concerned with liability, perhaps responsible drinking should be taught and promoted, to both of-age and underage students. Lawrence recognizes that underage students drink, but the administration must take the next step to ensure that Lawrence remains a safe place in which all students can make their own educated choices.

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