November 10th 2005 Quit Whining, You Alkies

Bucknell is a typical American college; as such, many typical American college activities go on here, such as drinking, drinking games, and parties that feature drinking. Naturally, since the typical age range of students is between 18 and 22, and the drinking age is 21, plenty of underage drinking happens on campus on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately for our friendly partygoers, events in and around Bucknell over the past several years have resulted in tougher drinking policies and punishments on campus. The first changes began over three years ago, with the now legendary “emergency alcohol policies” instituted by Bucknell’s administration. Bucknell mandated stiffer penalties for underage and “dangerous” drinking on campus, and banned hard alcohol for everyone, even those of or over the age of 21. These changes were enacted in response to a dangerously high number of alcohol-related hospitalizations on campus, most notably by the then-freshman students of the Class of 2007.

The emergency policies were revoked later in the year, their removal heralded by a brand-new alcohol policy on which I am an expert, since I had to take a class on them when I started classes at Bucknell. Some consider the new policies to be oppressive; I consider them relatively fair, since they simply require a person consuming alcohol to do so in a safe and responsible manner. The rules, in my mind, are more about common sense than arcane prohibitions and punishments. However, they often cause quite a stir on campus.

However, recent administrative shake-ups at the Lewisburg Police Department have resulted in a tighter policing of the so-called “downtown” area, that being primarily South Sixth and Seventh Streets. As a result of this “aggressive enforcement“ (as newly placed signs in the area proclaim), many parties at Bucknell have moved uptown, from the off-campus frat housing to the on-campus frat housing.

Many students are angry about this enforcement. The editorial staff of the student newspaper, The Bucknellian, has published at least one editorial regarding the “new” alcohol policies, and tomorrow, the newspaper will publish an article from Bucknell Student Government regarding the increased policing of off-campus area.

To this, I say: Quit whining, you alkies.

Yes, I know, that’s a bit harsh, but you must understand that I am sick of hearing about the alcohol policy on campus. I’m certainly not against drinking, or a few people getting together for a party; but often times, parties both on and off campus do get out of control, and students themselves are often irresponsible.

My complaint, though, should not be taken as an endorsement of any alcohol policies, either on campus on off. Rather, it should be taken as an endorsement that many Bucknell students are spoiled brats living in a fantasy world where they should be allowed to do whatever they want without consequence. Get it through your heads: drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. Bucknell and the police could bust every party. They don’t, because there are more important things to do, but they could.

Drinking comes with responsibilities. If one is able to handle alcohol responsibly and maturely, there is no problem; however, if one gets drunk and urinates on bushes, or breaks windows, or creates a disturbance, or gets violence, or gets sick or becomes unconsciousness, or, heaven forbid, drives, one is acting immaturely and irresponsibly, and in a manner that affects others, even if the others are sober or responsibly drunk. When one’s drinking starts to affect others who are now unwillingly involved, it is immature and it is a problem.

So stop whining about the alcohol policies. They’re only oppressive if you’re acting irresponsibly or obnoxiously. If you go back to your room, or a friend’s room, or a friend’s house, and drink responsibly, and don’t get out of control, you are not going to get stopped by Public Safety or the Lewisburg Police. Drinking by Bucknell students is only a problem when they act like complete idiots and draw attention to themselves. If you get caught drinking underage, don’t blame the “ridiculous alcohol policy” or the “oppressive police”; the reason you got caught is because you were immature, irresponsible, and out of control, and the only person you have to blame is yourself.